June already….

This is my first post in quite a few weeks. It was a glorious May, the weather was sunny and bright and the fields, shrubs and trees blossomed. For me though, I needed to conserve energy, close in and give myself room to breathe.

It was a time of despair, frustration, discord, reassessment, consolidation and repair. It took time and it took silence. Time to listen to the sounds and focus on the real things and let go of the white noise and the humdrum and the background churnings that distract and destroy.

I continually ask myself what it is that is important- to me, to others, to our world. I am not sure I have the answers, I am not sure they are the right questions, I just know that the disillusionment of the last year sapped my energy greatly and I must remember not to let myself get sucked in again by its draining darkness. I can still believe in what seems right to me, it is not for others to decide by either their actions or inactions, I still get to choose what I feel, how I greet each day, how I process the events that happen to me and around me. This helps me get up and reach for a new day, a new dream a new horizon. I am not broken, just bruised and a little misshapen and the bruises will heal in time.

Carpe diem- seize the day. XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

Walking on…

I will not falter

I will not fall

I will not bend and break

This is not your call.

 

I will stand my ground with shoulders squared

I will keep my faith even when you lose yours,

I will trust in truth and walk tall with head held high.

You shall not define me or my dreams deny.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

A final one for mental health awareness week 2018. I think this one is about getting back up again…

Missing in action.

Still silent seamless sorrow as the shadows of the day recede

My loss and longing washes over me

And it feels like my heart might bleed.

 

To carry both of you with me across the seas of need

I long to have your hands to hold

And from this endless ache be freed.

 

Love sets us free to chase our dreams

Make no mistaking there

But the hollow place inside of me, still wishes you were here.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

For Mental Health Awareness Week 2018.

For my girls. Whom I love, every day and more. For my Ellen across the seas. Some days leave a gaping chasm of loss. Hold your children tight when they are small if you are going to give them wings to fly. XXXXX

 

 

Pakaru

The car is at the garage

The engine is Kaput

Another worry in the bag

And now it won’t stay shut.

 

We appear to haemorrhage money

There’ll soon be nothing left

It isn’t remotely funny

Friends family fortitude bereft.

 

Pakaru and redundant

For all my story’s worth

Broken beyond replacement

Nothing left but mirth.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson

Pakaru- broken for Mental Health Awareness week 2018.

 

 

 

 

Clangers…..

We are knitted clanger creatures

Living far away from earth

We don’t have diabetes

But we do have lots of mirth.

 

We live off blue string pudding

And green soup for dessert

We have a lovely soup dragon

Whose baby is said to slurp.

 

We have some friendly froglets

Iron chicken in starry sky lurks

We harvest notes from music trees

Hoots make our tiny clangers chirp.

 

We whistle through the day

We whistle through the night

We whistle for the children

To make their day more bright.

 

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

Friday night cheer up in Mental Health Awareness week 2018.

Image taken from Flickr labelled for non commercial re-use.

 

 

Voices of Whittingham….Past lives in an Asylum.

This is again for mental health awareness week. I spent some time today at the archives in Preston. I am currently participating in a local history/arts/creative writing/mental health project. It is based around the Whittingham Asylum at Preston and it aims to give a voice to the lives and stories that played out there. It was a very large Asylum and Preston was very proud of it, there were about 500 staff and often as many as 3000 inpatients.

Whittingham Lives Project.

I have learned a lot in such a few sessions and certainly had some of my own assumptions challenged. The Asylum opened in 1873 and had patients sent there from all over the north-west of England, many of the other Asylums, workhouses, almshouses were already bursting at the seams. It was regarded as a model Asylum and postcards of its external facade were sold as memorabilia. There were extensive gardens where fruit and vegetables were grown and it even had its own orchestra. Underneath this facade still lurked the very real horrors of Victorian poverty and the mental health of a scarred nation. End-stage syphilis was one of the significant causes of the mental and psychotic decline that resulted in many people spending their end of days in the Asylum and in the period of World War 1, both shell-shock and a form of hydrocephalus resulting from the Spanish flu were  responsible for increased demand for spaces and places within the Asylum. The superintendent’s journal from 1873-95 was stark to begin with detailing the very worst events including the frequent dismissals of staff for what can only be described as physical abuse of the inpatients and the frequent outbreaks of scarlatina, diarrhoea and typhoid, whilst rules and regulations resulted in greater detail in later entries, including the deaths from misadventure, poor health and at their own hand.

The Asylum had its own cemetery. People came and went though, it wasn’t always the end of the road and when the photographer that came to capture the newly admitted, those well enough would ask to have images taken to show they were well and recovered to send to their loved ones with the plea to come and take them away.

Today we were considering restraint, emotional, physical and chemical.

I wrote this for Charlotte.

 

In Chains

Into the light, beyond the bands that bind me tight,

Into the dawn, beneath the hands that hold me down,

Into the sunlight, the stench of starch and sulphur stings my eyes

Into the madness, my muddled mind festers in fetid fettered manacles.

Deliver me.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

 

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