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First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Life. Both wonderful and bloody frustrating. Some days you want to last forever, others can’t end soon enough. I am at a point in life where I need an outlet for all these one sided conversations that go on in my head. That’s where this blog malarkey comes in. There will be ranting. There will be raving. There will likely be no actual structure or rhyme or reason for most of it, BUT that’s just how it goes in this mind of mine. Please don’t expect this to be fancy. I’m not very good at fancy. Don’t expect it to be a place for reasoned arguments, hormones and lack of sleep don’t care about reasoning! Let’s see what happens….

Social Media

It’s called “social” media because it allows people to connect to others, in theory anyway. Some interactions can really cheer up your day, make you laugh or just feel uplifted. Unfortunately there is also the flip side of this particular coin. The interactions or posts which can sink your mood. These can make you angry, outraged, sad or just sit festering away in the back of your mind all day. Those are the ones that usually end up with me have little outbursts, mainly swearing and berating religious groups/political parties. It’s good to share though, eh?

A few years ago I was feeling particular low. It was coming up to my birthday, I was single and just generally felt miserable. I would spend hours going through Fakebook and Twitter, some times interacting, mostly just biting my tongue trying to not share my real thoughts on the 37th selfie of someone “living the dream”. Something snapped that night and I bit the bullet. I deleted both accounts and apps from my phone and laptop. Boom easy as that.

No. Not easy at all. It’s like any addiction, it is hard, very hard to not get another fix. I gave in and created an anonymous Twitter account but I have never gone back to Fakebook. I refuse. It’s has insidiously become the norm to have your life on that particular platform. People give you odd looks when you say you don’t do Fakebook. You can almost see them thinking “what’s wrong with her”. Sometimes I do feel left out because everyone seems to organise their lives on it and often forget that I’m not on it. There is also the oversharing. People seem to feel the need to share all sorts of things that no one would have dreamt of 20 years ago. I really don’t give a monkeys what you had for dinner, if I did I’d ask.

14th May 2020

I just found the above post in my draft folder. How funny that it is relevant to how I felt today. The only social media I do is Twitter. The rest have no interest for me. Twitter can be hugely informative, create excellent debate, make you laugh out loud and totally lose your temper.

Today started out ok. Yeah sure I was tired after nightshift. Awake after less than 4 hours sleep. Got a message that made my heart sink and a knot form in my stomach. So to take my mind off it I popped onto Twitter to see what was happening in the world. Lots of the usual nonsense but also someone had replied to a reply I had written to someone I follow.

The best way to describe the reply was “mansplaining”. A wee pat on the bum for the daft wee Jock lassie and put her back in her place, silly thing. Rage is what I felt. Complete red mist. I composed a dozen angry, smart, rude responses in my head. How I found the restraint to not actually respond is beyond me. I took a deep breath and chose not to bite. After all I don’t know this person. What they think or know is not of any interest to me. However, they also don’t know me. They have absolutely no business telling me what I do or don’t know.

Today I chose to be that person who stopped and thought better of losing my temper online. It looks like I’m the bigger person. However, in reality it is there in my head, niggling away at me. Like someone in my brain taunting me, telling me I’m a stupid worthless bint. That I can’t even have a debate online, that I am too useless and have nothing to contribute to the world. That I’m not smart, or funny or cool. This is the shit that is going on in my head about 75% of the time I’m awake.

Now the rational me knows that I’m a perfectly acceptable human being. I know that I’m not the only person with this kind of bullshit going on in their head. But honestly, sometimes social media can make you feel like the loneliest person in the world.

Covid 19

I’m exhausted. Exhausted by the constant, niggling worry and anxiety. Exhausted by the sheer ignorance and disregard for themselves and others that so many people have. Exhausted by frustration that lessons are not being learned from other countries who are already several weeks and several thousands dead.

That is the negative impact that this pandemic is having on me already.

The positive is that amongst my social group, people have found time to check in on others, myself included, in what is a hugely worrying and stressful time for all of us. It is making me appreciate what I have and who I have in my life. These tiny little acts of kindness that we are all usually too busy to notice or carry out, are incredibly comforting in these scary times. I have noticed that people, myself included, are talking more openly about anxiety and our fears about the situation. I really do think this helps and I hope we all continue to talk about these feelings once we get past this crisis.

There is so much uncertainty ahead, with no clear end in sight yet. I suggest we all keep close (virtually if not physically) those we hold dear and try to appreciate the little things. This is a time if ever there was one to think of others and if you can, STAY AT HOME!!

Life Goes On

So how many people are doing  “New Year, New Me” this year? I haven’t the time or mind space for all that malarkey.

2020 already looks like it is going to be a big busy year. House hunting as a couple changes a lot of things. Having to consider another person on a full time basis is something I haven’t had to do for over 10 years! There will be a lot of compromises to be made, a lot of having to make changes and be more considerate but also having support there when I need it and not having to make decisions alone. Sure it won’t be easy all the time but I think it will be good.

Work continues to be a clusterfuck. A single force has been bad news for pretty much everyone. Chaos and despondency continues. Lack of clear leadership right from the very top and a total disregard for what is actually needed to make communities work outwith the central belt, is beginning to have disastrous consequences. However, as always the slopey shoulders take no responsibility and nothing is reported by any media.

I was chatting to a friend and colleague back home in the north the other day. What he told me about the state of the communities up there now, made me intensely sad and wistful for “the good old days”.

So as with all things there is good and bad, light and dark, yin and yang. What does 2020 hold? Let’s go find out.

One year on

So one year on from the debacle that was the closure of the control room here. Has anything changed or got better? That would be a firm no. Staff continue to either take full advantage of the situation for themselves or get screwed over. Can you guess which camp I fall into?

The old saying – some days you’re the bird, some days your the statue – that just about sums up life here in this new made up department.

From speaking to people outside of this place they either have no idea of the situation because they never need to call the Police or they have tried to call and won’t bother again. In the second scenario I have heard the following:

“I had no idea that I wasn’t speaking to someone local until they obviously hadn’t a clue where I was talking about.”

Also I have been told that a lone female shop worker was being harassed and threatened by a drunk male, she phoned 101 and reported it. No officers attended and she never received any call back at any point from Police Scotland, the situation only resolved when a member of the public stepped in to help her.

Many calls that the public make never even get as far as being passed to local officers. This has led to a lot of officers up here, in the actual north, thinking that there are no calls being made and also making us, the former control room staff, look like total idiots. We had to work with the resources we had, which were way less than any of them knew. If we had the same resources as are being thrown at the Dundee and other control rooms it would have been a much easier job all round.

As it is, the long suffering loyal staff are being treated to a pay decrease and seeing other newer, sometimes less skilled, staff coming in, being paid more and also being given substantial pay outs on top of that as part of the proposed “pay harmonisation” process. This process has been going on since Police Scotland was created and we have consistently been amongst the lowest paid with the largest portfolio. This has never been recognised or acknowledged in any way by the organisation. But hey! None of that matters. Crime is at an all time low here in Scotland and if we aren’t happy we can always leave. Oh yes I forgot I can’t because somehow I still need to pay my bills and live. If I was in any sort of position to walk away I would.

So in conclusion:

Yes I’m still bitter.

No, nothing positive has come out of the last year for staff here.

And

No, I don’t expect it ever will.

We will continue to be treated like dumb-ass second class citizens by those in power, simply because of our life choice of wanting to live somewhere out of the central belt.

I could go on, but to be honest, I’m just too exhausted and ground down with the unrelenting monotony.

Acceptance

It’s a funny word. For some people it means calmness and peace. I have felt recently that it is a slightly depressing word.

When I was having counselling we discussed that maybe I would need to accept the situation I was in and that it would help me move forward.

After I lost my little dog I did a lot of googling about dealing with loss and grief. Acceptance is also part of the documented grieving process. I think of it as giving up, moving on, shutting off feelings. I know that this is not how either the counsellor or the people who write about dealing with loss meant it.

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post for a while. I even started one the other day about social media and how it affects people, but I couldn’t organise my thoughts to read as anything coherent. This is a bit of a theme with me recently. Not being able to focus or finish anything. This frustrates me no end. I hate things being half done. Sometimes this means I just don’t start anything because that’s easier to deal with.

Do I need to accept how things are? Or do I need to change them?

I guess I will have to wait and see.

Loss

Almost a week since I lost the light of my life – my little old dog. I’ve been down, very down. Then things seems to get a little easier and boom it hits again. I miss him so much. He was such a calm, kind, funny little dog. Literally everyone that met him loved him.

When I lost my old dog Angus I had sworn to never get another dog. Losing them was so hard. Then I started volunteering to dog walk at Munlochy Animal Aid. One day, after I’d been helping out for a couple of months, I went in to the kennels one morning to see this scruffy little grey and white dog cowering in a kennel. I pretty much knew then I’d have to take him home. He was so quiet and calm and trusting. Never pulled on the lead, answered to his name and was already house trained. The perfect little dog. Oh sure he had his own little quirks – don’t we all? His was chewing fabric when he was nervous or stressed. Also he absolutely loved eating tissues or paper towels! To begin with he was very nervous of the car but although he never loved it like some dogs, he got used to it because it almost always meant he was going a walk somewhere good.

For the past 8 years he has been my constant companion, my friend, my comfort. I hope I was the same for him. He was so scared of loud bangs, fireworks terrified him and if you grabbed his collar he hit the ground like he expected to be beaten. This broke my heart every time it happened. I had no idea what had happened to him before he came to me.

A couple of years ago he had an attack of vestibular disease, which was terrifying at the time, but to see his recovery was amazing. He bounced right back. He was a little wobbly on his back legs and he had a slight head tilt although most of the time you would never notice. Then last year he developed some lumps on his back legs which turned out to be cancerous but, after he had these removed as best the vet could, again he bounced right back. He was incredibly resilient and brave. My little dog was the only reason I was getting out of bed earlier this year for quite some time. Caring for him was what kept me going more than anything else. Even though through all my emotional upheaval he wasn’t well either, I like to think we kept each other going.

A couple of months ago I thought I had lost him when he suffered from an extremely acute case of pancreatitis and didn’t eat for almost a week and spent all that time in the vets. The nurses and vets were amazing with him and didn’t give up on him. Again he seemed to turn a corner and fought his way back to come home. He noticeably slowed down and struggled to walk some days, other days was his old self. Throughout it all he never gave up being a brave little soul.

A couple of weeks ago he started to drip wee a lot again. I assumed it was another infection but he seemed uncomfortable and didn’t sleep or eat much except for biscuits or chicken. When a course of antibiotics didn’t seem to be working I took him in to the vet for more blood tests and examinations. If I had known that was the last time I’d see him I would have hugged and kissed him so hard, but I didn’t know, so I tried to seem cheerful and told him I’d see him in a wee while. A few short hours later he was gone. A light went out. He had a massive tumour growing in his abdomen that couldn’t be removed. I couldn’t let him suffer any more, much as it broke my heart.

I go over and over all the things I did wrong or could have done better for him. Could I have done anything sooner that would have saved him, kept him with me longer. Of course you can’t change the past but I wish I could. I wish I could have given him so much more. I miss him so much but part of me is relieved that he isn’t in pain and trying to keep going for me. He was the most cheerful, brave little dog and I think he made me a better person.

I’ve had so many lovely messages and gestures of support from friends and colleagues this week. Each one of them has brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate every one of them. I can’t really talk about it yet to tell them how much they all mean but I hope they know.

I know it will take a long time to get over my loss but while I’m grieving I apologise if I seem rude or distant. I will get back to being a grumpy miserable cow soon, I’m sure.

Sleep well my brave little dog, Jock pop.

Then this

After such an emotional day yesterday, today I felt so low and drained of energy that even getting dressed was an enormous effort. On days like this it’s hard to be interested in anything or motivated to do anything. But I did make it through the day and having a soak in the bath this tune came on my random playlist. Without fail it lifts my mood and makes me want to dance – yes even in the bath! So I felt the need to share. Enjoy 🙂