All posts by dancingwithenvelopes

I'm just a fellow human being, who happens to have found myself living on planet Earth, with a body and soul, and a brain filled with lots of stories to be told, to any other fellow creatures who want to listen, i'm here to share. I'm here to cherish the Earth, and sing for all those good things which are wild and free. I live in Sheffield. I like sharing stories and ideas about gardening, growing food and vegetables... I think we can all contribute seeds to the soil of our gorgeous planet. I also happen to like writing, art, culture, travelling, neurology, mental health and well-being, for persons, creatures, plants and planet. Great and Small. Footprints and fingertips- friendship and community spirit. That's basically what i'm all about, I think...!

Top tips for people in dips

Dealing with Crisis when alone… Never ideal, but sometimes, roughing it alone is an unavoidable reality, we cannot simply ignore! Comments and ideas most welcome!!

dancingwithenvelopes

This post will constantly be subject to additional tips, as they are acquirred through the process of living, and learning new survival mechanisms. Please feel free to add any of your own tips in the comments box!

Mental health- it is completely synonymous with physical health. The mental is the physical, and the physical is also mental. So just to get this straight, everyone alive has mental health. Therefore, everyone alive exists in a constant flux of good health, poor health, and the bits in between. Mental illness can happen to anybody. Just as illnesses like Flu, or Tonsillitis, impact on our livelihoods, due to a dip in ‘good health’, so too do Mental Health afflictions affect us. Some perhaps, more than others, but all the same, any stigma needs to be stamped out, before anyone can engage with this post meaningfully, and benefit from it.


Crisis- how to save…

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The memory ward… An excerpt from an on-going book i’m trying to write.

Slam. Through a sheen, thick as a hospital curtain, Toby hit hard and cracked knuckles against the blindfolded skull of his attacker. It had been a stunning strike. Adrenaline fuelled, and knuckles resonating from the impact, Toby found darkness, and it swallowed him like a Slag landslide from the hilltops of the valleys. All was black. But then it was sharp white, blue, beige. There was an incessant ringing in Toby’s ears- maybe from the adrenaline, the slap. Flashes of street lamp Orange hounded his peripheral vision, blinking into his eyes sporadically as though having just being lit, at the beginning of an evening. That indecisive period of the street blinkers- as though reluctant to rise from a daytime of slumber, ready for the night shift which lay ahead.


 

Switch.

Bay 4, Ward 6.

There were patients up and out of bed everywhere. Staff Nurse Alice was tending to one of the three out of a possible ten bays allocated to her care that night, and all eight in this bay were up; demented by condition and frenzied by confusion and a full moon. It was about 5am, ten out of twelve and a half hours of the shift down, and Alice was running on that last reserve of adrenaline. The kind of adrenaline which emerges, only to those who have forced their body to smash through the great wall of fatigue, and have nothing left to cover but the final laps of the night’s obstacle course. She had energy enough to focus on beginning the drug rounds, alright. Somehow, the brain has magic tricks saved for enabling Olympic champions to pull through for Gold in the sport of endurance concentration.

Imagine then, the fallout which becomes the athlete who treads the tightrope for an outcome of the whole race, when unexpected flying obstacles are thrown into their track, causing a devastating fall which costs them the race. This happened in the form of an almighty blow to the back of Alice’s head. There was a sudden onset of an electrical thud to the base of her skull, followed by the feeling of a strangely refreshing coolness to the left cheek, and the world on its side. Which is certainly not where Alice had left it.

‘Shit! What the FUCK was that!?’ she heard her own voice yell out, before any chance for professional boundaries to impose their barrier to swearing and maintaining an essence of calm amidst a testing storm. Suddenly she was cheek to cheek with the face of the cold floor, and there were red and white slipper socks dancing around her nose, as if threatening to kiss her. The confused chaos of startled patients, sung like two poorly tuned instruments; battling with the air, were above and around her like a sudden choir.

‘Oh, bloody hell’ thought Alice to herself, and the floor. The problem was, that she should by now have been motivated by the sudden surge of adrenaline, which had taken hold, like it should, for the fully functioning human body. It was indeed there, coursing through her, as if powered by martyring Bee stings. That’s all it was though, all it had become since starting work as a Nurse, most strikingly, however, since starting on Ward 6, in particular. The ‘mad house’ as they all called it, or ‘purgatory’. Like the holding cell for those human shells; which were once the chariot within which consciousness and a person’s soul could ride.

Dementia, however, had somehow managed to capture fragments of a person before their body was necessarily ready to call it a day. As if memories- the essence of a person’s identity, sense of self and understanding of the world they were conscious in- were akin to Iron filings, and Dementia a terrible magnet. It would hover over the person, occasionally passing them by and sparing the fragments, but all too often, snatching up the Iron filings like an impossible black hole.

So, a person was trapped in a kind of Purgatory, in this sense. Since they were no longer completely alive as themselves, but were not yet dead, their mind snorted away like dusty powder, bit by bit, just waiting to die- so as to enable the pieces of mind to catch up and meet the rest.

Alice battled with the acknowledgement that she really, really, did not want to get up off that floor. To lay there horizontal, and just to sleep instead of stand, was such a convincing argument. Especially as the back of her skull began to burn with a sharp flame, where the blow had landed. Above her, however, reality pressed on- surreal though it was- two out of six beds out of the bay were emptied of their contents, and the patients like the linen, sprayed out along the floor. The other beds were beginning to shuffle. Obscenities- muffled by the chewing of blankets and the burial of heads under pillows- were starting to pass between the beds, as though beds themselves had begun their own private conversation of curses among one another. The twist being that none of the beds were actually engaging, in such a thing as a straightforward string of conversation with one another- they were all chattering to themselves, seemingly drunk.

There was medication to administer- drips needed attaching to flimsy cannulas. Bedside cabinets craved the turn of the key to release syrups, pills, tonics and false teeth. For no nurse was there ever such a fine reality known in the solace of the floor.

Alice tried calling for help, she had one Support Worker, June, for the shift, and hoped to the heavens above that she’d be in a bay near enough to hear the cry for assistance, above the mewing of buzzers across the waking ward. As it happened, June was luckily near enough by, to have heard Alice’s call.
In the middle of a slow shuffle, June appeared, moving between bay three, and the patient toilets, arm in arm with a patient in the middle of the corridor, helping her to the toilet. 80-year-old Beatrice was armed with a Zimmer frame, and this was useful for more than just the one reason, of mobilising. June treacherously removed her interlinking arm from Beatrice’s, and managed a split second side jump to the right, leaving Beatrice heading onwards with the momentum of her body supported by the shape and physics of the frame. Beatrice didn’t fall- she kept upright and moving forward, which was the miracle needed to enable June to run to Alice’s assistance in bay four.

‘We’ll have to pull the curtain back across, quickly!’ June observed with an edge of mania whipping up the octaves of her vocal chords. By this time, Alice had used the bedside chair to hurl her bottom half up. The morning meds hung balanced, and resting on a nearby seat. Alice moved determinably, elbows kept supported by the chair arms, knees protesting against the injustice of forcing a torso upright again. Toby was in full swing, and ‘Reg’, who was to Toby, the mugger before his swinging punches, in the altered reality, which had been projected by Toby’s mental state, into the room. Mr. Skindle, or ‘Bill’, was beginning to dance with his own chair, in an attempt to dodge the unsettling volume of sounds confronting him.

‘You get that side, and try to push him back down in the direction of his seat!’ Alice instructed. June obeyed, and using contortionist’s manoevuers, she swished the curtain between Toby and Bill’s beds with her right hand, whilst using her left knee and leg to curtail the flailing Bill from leaving the safety net of the chair.
In that moment, June made a quick decision- the scenario was indeed lively enough to warrant pressing Bill’s bedside buzzer, to illuminate yet another dull orange bulb with its yawning howl, in the hope that there would be at least one other nurse able to see and respond. At the very least, June still had a patient mid-journey to the toilet, and with seconds having passed, anything could have happened to Beatrice’s balance by now. If not to help us stop Toby, she considered, then at least just to take over helping Beatrice to the toilet and back to her bed, next door, uninjured.

‘Are you alright?’ Beatrice suddenly remembered to ask. ‘I’ll be alright when Reg has been sedated, and Toby stops bleeding. You need to try and grab Faye or someone to give me a hand. I’m going to have to fill out a Datix, whenever on Earth I have the time, after running all these IVs.’

Alice continued elaborating to June. ‘That actually really hurt, Bea. Can you run and get Faye or even one of the bloody doctors to come in here, ASAP!?’ Alice almost choked on her own sentence, but with relief, it was already starting to drift away. She could confirm she’d heard herself speak the words. ‘Did that sentence come out in my voice?’; she shuddered in confusion. ‘I think it did, I can hear the words again in my mind like an echo. The echo is my own voice, I’m sure of it…’

June could only hope that Beatrice was managing to stay in charge of gravity, and its increasingly sporadic pattern of abundance, which commonly afflicted many of these patients, not to mention the staff. She took one look down and immediately grabbed any pillow she could find, to slip under Toby’s head as the blood spread, almost tranquilly, across the white slip. She observed Toby’s respirations. ‘Fast, at least twenty-four per minute, at best guess. Colour….’ Here at last, came the justification to act. The colour had drained from Toby’s cheeks, like an artist’s canvas of pinks, crimsons, and greys; as if hit by sudden tragic flooding. This had cruelly afflicted the rich canvas, until it became not an art but a dishcloth; wrung out, the colours were dripping; pale greys and ruptured reds wept outwards and down. Paler and paler. Then glass eyes rolled skywards, and to the left. As if fixed on a hallucination only the fading patient could see.

She pulled herself into action, yanked the red emergency buzzer away from the wall, and the wail of the alarm caused carnage, and some rhythm to be found within an unknown quantity of footsteps, drumming their way down the corridor, louder and closer by the second.

‘What’s happened!?’ exclaimed Jessica, one of the nurses on shift who had been up in the side rooms all the while.


 

Switch.

‘Attach pads’. The radio was annoying Toby’s brother, sat in the passenger seat of his older brother’s car. ‘Why is it speaking in an American accent!? It’s supposed to be British Broadcasting Company, not chuffin’ Brooklyn Bolton Canada!’

‘Canada is not part of America, Michael, you can’t use Canada for that. California. That’s American, call it Brooklyn Bolton California if you need to repurpose the BBC algorithm. To fit with the America thing, the wrong accent, like you say. I do agree with you though, I want to hear the weather forecast in my own British accent, where it’s actually relevant.’ Toby interjected.

‘Right, I mean anyone could find themselves in this car listening to radio, and thinking, why am I in America! How did I get here, did I just drive? Did I just DRIVE to America?? And that’d send anyone crackers, thinking they’d somehow managed to drive through the entire Atlantic, to make it across to New bloody York, without even realising. It’d fuck anyone’s head up, that. They need to keep it in a British accent, so people don’t start thinking England’s gone and slipped down to the States right under their noses.’

‘Right.’ Toby replied, trying to end the matter. The last thing he could care for today, was the audible and involuntary unravelling of one of his brother’s un-hinged rants about matters so Philosophical, they had to be unhealthy. Toby knew not of any other soul in the world, who could get so carried away- genuinely swept off the landscape of reason and into the distortion of those splintering eyes, of Picasso’s Weeping Woman. He had always felt a strangely sad kind of pride, for his younger brother, who had been born into this world three weeks early, already with an imagination so feral it would blister the heart and mind of their mother.

While it would indeed be interesting, Toby reflected, to venture into the caverns of Michael’s mind for a day, just to see what was actually going on in there, he certainly didn’t fancy having to navigate through his real life behind such a strange screen. Besides, where were the radio presenters who spoke in their more familiar Welsh accent? It was a question Toby snuffed out as quickly as it had floated into his mind. He had not the energy to think about questions, and the like.

‘You’re so… so, s-s-s’ Toby began to respond, but couldn’t find the words to fit.

‘So, what?’

‘Just, I don’t know. Complex. Like a calculator. I never had any kind of clue how the damn things managed to magically summon up digits that were always, always correct, mathematically. But they did. Your mind reminds me of a calculator, Michael. Blasted mystery plastic thing, with its blasted weird ability to, just know.’ Toby regretted that he’d ended the observation with such a positive, definite conclusion. He didn’t want to think that all the endless stories, headaches and conjecture of Michael’s theories were comparable to a calculator. The thought that these non-linear tracks of mind drivel, which grew like Bindweed from between the teeth of his own brother, could be anything as solid and true as a number, was positively hurtful.

They continued the journey, past the point of the cobbled road and into the bends of city buildings, in silence. The part of the journey over the cobbled roads was too noisy to speak over comfortably, anyway. Soon enough they’d get used to the drumroll sounds, they would loiter in the ear like shallow puddles- background noise- as he focused on the steering. The buckaroo. Just had to get through it, and then the road would suddenly hush; ‘shhhhhhh’, it would go, just like a mother. The road would answer, reassured, quiet. And smooth. Horizons were opened and the journey was awake.

You can look at the scene from a greater perspective, so imagine you drop in on this scene while you loom over a large, formidable and ultimately playful map. The map is blue and green, and it is punctuated by dashes of white, here and there. Sometimes this white is bigger than elsewhere, sometimes the white seems to ripen with sheer abundance of having something continuously added to it, constantly. So that it gains weight, and then strangely becomes lilac, into purple, graduating onwards into navy blue, before becoming indistinguishable from the deeply blue sea.

There are many scenes just like this, for you to investigate and zoom in on, but as it happens, this is the spot that charmed your eyes and begged to be amplified, via a magnifying glass. The details have already spoken for themselves, but you can see Toby’s car right there, suspended it seems, on a horizontal string, which connects one side of the sky to another. It is the road, to them, but to you, you can see and feel, you can even smell and hear, the depth of that bubble around them. The hills are so green, the sky is so white, it seems like the blue bits are the clouds, but you know from your perspective that the cloud is only a dot. Upon a green, textured and wavering scene.


 

Switch…

Call for Submissions + Giveaway

What a brilliant way to get involved with Mental Health Awareness Week, for the whole of May, and of course really, the rest…

I’m personally going to give this #PERSONIFYME project a go, and hopefully by sharing it, some others might be intruiged to explore it too.

Mindfump.

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I ‘m happy to announce that the blog is teaming up with Dre from  Things Dre Makes for the whole of May, which is not uncoincidently Mental Health Awareness month. Dre is a fabulous illustrator and artist, and we both wanted to mark this month with something artistic.

Enter #PersonifyME.

Pixar Disney had their turn depicting emotions and the struggles within the mind when they released Inside Out. Not to diminish their efforts, winning an Oscar isn’t too bad, but we want more. Funny cartoons are nice but real struggles of real people should be talked about and shared. No one – as of yet – can look into your mind and see exactly what is going on. So now is an opportunity for you to show everyone.

The Task

Well, it is rather simple. #PersonifyME is about personifying an emotion in your…

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Neuromending?

I have recalled an old thought, from a year ago today….

Since studies of the effects of LSD on the brain show that: “There is a natural segregation between high-level (abstract) cognitive areas and low-level (concrete) perceptual areas, most notably the visual cortex. These distinctions are thought to be an essential design feature of a functional human brain.

The impact of LSD was to diminish connections within each of these networks, relaxing the bonds that kept them intact and distinct, while increasing the cross-talk among them. In other words, the normal etiquette of the brain requires segregation among networks that have different functions, and that etiquette was blown to bits.” (Source:http://www.theguardian.com/…/lsd-research-brain-neuroscienc…)

Then I wonder if LSD could provide an effective rehabilitative remedy for victims of Stroke!?

Surprise Frost!

Oh well for god’s sake!

The last time I checked, it was April, and according to the little birds who tell us things, it’s soon to be May. May is the planting out month! At least, it is the month when you can seed your flowerbeds with a sprinkle of poppies, cabbages and tomatoes…

May should be the month you can plant out the seedlings which you planted indoors, in anticipation of the heavily desired ‘hello’ from Spring and sunshine, who have heard rumours about Summer, who might be planning to return soon.

But ‘NO!’, said England. ‘I know how much you love icicles, and were hoping for some Winter this year. I decided to surprise you by making it come in April, instead! Ta-da! Aren’t you happy!?’. Typically, English, of course.


So last night, when it suddenly started to snow, I had to do a mad ‘save the sunflowers dash’. Re: sudden snow blizzard announces self! Bought the pots inside, but I’m going to need a bigger greenhouse it seems , cheers to a four month late winter frost… If ever anyone thought I wasn’t the world’s best shining example of punctuality, then kindly have a re-think. I’ve just been out-‘lated’…

So my advice?

For now, i’d just go grab some nice compost, and sow the carrots, squashes, sunflowers, brassicas, indoors. In their own small seedling trays or small plantpots. Then stick them on your windowsill.

Let them grow, keep them watered, in the safety of the shelter, until further notice from Spring!

 

windowsill sunflower

#103 Fraud – ‘Where Has All The Depression Gone?’

There will always be someone, and something, to write about, to write for, and as long as there are readers, and listeners, and minds. Pretty much as long as there are humans, there is always a reason to read, and a reason to write.

Mindfump.

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O
K, this is starting to feel awkward. Like a religious cult leader who convinces everyone the end of the world is nigh. The room is packed, the grand speech is done and it is coming! The end of the world is about to happen. All you’ve got to do now is wait. And then wait, and wait a bit more… then wait some more. You eventually just get to the point where theres only a couple of miniature pretzels and a broken party ring left in the plastic compartment platter. Drama and suspense checked out a while ago, and everyone is now staring into the middle distance wondering whether they can speculate on what will happen in the next episode of The Wire, without appearing too optimistic about their chances to see it.

I feel like I’m in that phase, I’ve…

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Digging for Victory

The Revolution will be Grown.Walls of Woven Ivy Climb, Seed and Soil accosted; Replaced our captive ‘City’s’ Grey. A Greener Tomorrow, a brighter today!


Vision-

  • To salvage spaces, renew and revive for greener, cleaner and happier places 
  • To grow our own food and produce more locally grown edibles
  • To master the full potential of our Sheffield Allotment, let the land teach us how and where to develop
  • Combine creativity, resources and climate to find new and innovative ways to expand growing spaces upwards, downwards, left right and centre.
  • Bring the garden to the people, enable others to share the joy of gardening, planting new life, reconnecting with the outdoors and the pleasures of engaging with their natural environment
  • To establish roots within the local community, collaborate with social enterprising networks, and help to unify  resources, ideas, and manpower for other similar projects which aspire to improve access to green spaces, and opportunities to start planning new growth
  • To regenerate- Disused spaces and derelict infrastructure, could be revived and given a new lease of life with fresh purpose. Temporary pop up gardens, could be just one aspect of this!

Sheffield is a great city for green spaces, housing an eco-conscious community which fosters the creative and artistic. The social co-operative hubs and independent businesses which are budding and flourishing in the city are also very promising and positive in terms of forecasting the shape of the future to follow for Sheffield.

Sheffield would be the perfect candidate for showcasing the incredible benefits of an edible city, which encourages and nurtures urban food growing and sustainable spaces. Lets get onto this and pull our ideas together as a community to make it happen!

Upcycle– Old Doccers make for very jazzy new plantpots for the growth of Tulips, and many other things!

upcycle the red doccers into plantpots for the holland tulips


Take a look at some of the things we’ve achieved so far, and what we believe to be an assortment of treasures worth digging for…

The land of the Intelligently Artificial

Intelligently Artificial. The most apt words I can find, to describe how many aspects, of our Western lives, feels these days.

Our ‘safeguards’ and our ‘representatives’, our morale and our procedures. All well-intended accident. Which we designed into our reality, as structures, and rules, like equations. To govern and to ‘guide’ our institutions, our speech, our education, our health, politicis, economy, and the political correctness of it all.

Structure and agency- that old chestnut- how do they to their (mutually unconditional) dance?


In English: How do people (i.e. agents), live, work, love, and survive in this scene we/someone(thing?) set? This scene/set, known commonly as the ‘United’ Kingdom, is the ‘structure’, we as agents (i.e. people) have to operate in.

A better way of putting it, perhaps, has emerged through people themselves:

The only good system is the sound system”

the-only-r-good-system-is-the-sound-system-5112882


Or if all else fails, there’s always Wikipedia- Structure and Agency – debate

If you can even be arsed to venture down that tangled path of philosophical head f***.

What i’m essentially trying my damned hardest, to say here, is that while history gets written (by the victors, of course), society emerged through the coming together of collective social and human intelligence.

The structures, the law and the protocols- they’re all here because we intended to enshrine some form of order and control, over our own human (and therefore unpredictable) behaviours, pursuits and personal lives.

But we accidently crafted ourselves a cage.