Wednesday, 7 March 2018


    Here we are in March then, after a weekend during which we had unseasonal snowfall over the British Isles, today had a real air of spring. I even saw some bees having a go at our winter blossom bush.

    I last wrote here in December, and that's an unusually long gap for me. It's not been an easy two months, and I've been firefighting to keep my work going. The last eight years have taken a significant psychological toll on me, and facing up to some past traumas from school and other moments in earlier life has come together with the huge stress of a complete loss of trust in the ever changing field of what is possible in my medical pathway to leave me in a bit of a state.

    I have a couple of things today I didn't have a couple of weeks ago though, first I have a proper undisputed referral for surgery, and second I've started therapy for all that trauma and psychological toll I was talking about. I'll believe the surgery is real when I wake up from the anaesthesia and they finally can't take it away from me, but the therapy has been a very tangible thing that has already had an effect.

    EMDR, or Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing, is a technique for locking away trauma that works under the assumption that the things coming back to bother you haven't been processed by the brain in the way most memories are. As I understand it REM sleep allows us to put away the happenings of the day, into long-term storage if you will, and sometimes that process is not effective and these memories hang around to plague us. EMDR tries to replicate this eye movement while guiding you through some of the trauma, the idea being that it does the same filing task.

   Does it work? Far too early to tell. It's quite intense, and upsetting. I went to a school which I would not send my children too, but that some parents would sell Granny to get little Tarquin into. I didn't choose it, my mother pushed all of us into scholarships at academic hothouse schools, and I was the outsider at every point. Nobody gives a crap about the psychological scars of a shit time at one of the so-called best schools unless someone pulled their knob out at you, so the huge number of people like me with problems in later life that didn't involve anything like that are left hanging. There are support groups for people who went to boarding schools, but in my case I fall through the cracks as a day school pupil. As you can imagine, bringing all that kind of stuff up is ... difficult.

    You are warned that it'll affect you for a few days afterwards, and it's true. I've not been in a good place at all over the last few months, but the last few days since the therapy have been a bit grim. I know it would be a hell of a lot worse with testosterone, I have always said I hated the aggression that came with being a bloke.

    So there we are. Slow, tired, beset by trauma. It will get better, this is part of the therapy. As to the surgery, when that comes is anyone's guess. I've given up. Within the year seem likely though, and that can only be a good thing.


  1. I know what you mean about the surgery... I'm not going to say that waking up was the point where it was real. I was way too stoned on all sorts of medication for anything to be real (apparently I had conversations with Mrs Stace the afternoon afterwards that I still cannot remember). But once the morphine wore off, I threw up on the surgeon the next morning and the pain kicked in it was definitely real :)

    As for the other, the trauma of school is something that I still dwell on. I was the outsider for the opposite reason. It was a school that was so bad OFSTED gave up on it - it got good reports without good results as "considering the intake the school has to work with, the results are as good as can be hoped for". Basically, if you go there you're screwed royally. Only for those of us who wanted to try and do something with ourselves got bullied for thinking that we were better than the school. I was, so were some others, it's just a shame that only one or two of the teachers cared enough to help us achieve something (another actually told me I would never achieve anything and so shouldn't try - I'd only disappoint myself).

    Anyway, I hope that the therapy isn't too traumatic and that it does what it's supposed to.


  2. Just thinking of you Dear and a big hug from me.

    Love Jae

  3. Good to hear from you, even if it isn't with good unalloyed news. Our school days have a disproportionately big impact on our lives, I still occasionally dream of being back at school, and it's never a good thing.

  4. Thanks all, and apologies for being away. Professional life and lack of sleep have consumed me over the last month or so.