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Sep 14


Posted by Skard in Untagged 


I was thinking of my life as it used to be, where getting into my car and going to the movies or meeting or visiting friends or simply going shopping, was all just part of the everyday picture.

While pondering this I realised that it must be difficult, actually impossible, for anyone reading my blogs, and specifically the tales of the homeless shelter, to NOT think that I must be slightly on the "common side" - would that be the right word - to be able to cope with living here.

I also wondered why I would want to explain that I am not, and it's not so much about what "readers" think of me as a person, (unless you meet me face to face) but rather that I want my experience to be fully and properly understood.

How on earth do I tell you who the normal "Skard" is. Well, I can tell you that I used to be painfully uptight and snobbish and full of nonsense, thank God I got over that by age 30. I am reasonably educated and very well-read, wealth is something I am comfortable with and for part of my life took it for granted. I guess I'd call it a level of refinement you either have or don't; and it really isn't about money, it's just where you "fit".

I dreadfuly miss having my own bathroom, and own kitchen. I miss perfume, lovely smelly soaps, good skincare, wine glasses and crockery and clothes that are not in disrepair and going to the hairdresser. My private healthcare providers. Linen that is fresh and soft and clean. Flowers. Little herb pots. Shopping and cooking my own food. And so on. I am so far from the kind of environment in which I truly feel "at home".

Fortunately, I have always been curious about life and people and HOW people's spirit and personality manifest is endlessly intriguing to me.

Which is why I am managing at this shelter; there is so much I dislike; dicey hygiene, ugliness of the surroundings, ex-convicts and drug addicts and drunkenness and swearing, a general shortage and no-one to really have a conversation with....

It was mainly the idea of homelessness and shelter living that drove me to attempt suicide.

Homelessness is not an overnight condition; I can see how things have unravelled, specifically over the last few years as my illness  took hold, and I accept the how's, why's and wherefore's of this long fall... and that there is no-one to blame for it..

So when I write about the place and the people and the crazies, the irritations and the amusements, it is not because I identify but because I have a feeling of seperateness, which I am thankful for, but I also have to accept that I have some things in common with quite a few of the poeple here.

But all my cleverness and smartness and resources will count for nothing if I do not use these resources apply myself and conquer my illness ..... and very importantly, get support and love; there are times when I can see how easy it would be to just slip into the system ....

Every person at the shelter has a story of who they ONCE were, what they had and how they lost it ..... and I go to the pub in exercise takkies (white) with bad hair, and I drink quarts of beer because it is cheap .....


Sep 09


Posted by Skard in Untagged 

If I write my life story, in all it's ugliness, and with complete honesty, will anyone read it? Will anyone belive that so much can happen to one person and that the person has only gained some insight into the why's and wherefore's of her reactions and decisions at almost the age of 47?

Could I write it in purely narrative, first person form without having to anylyse and explain from a clinical perspective, to try and make sure that the story (ME) is understood?

Would anyone be interested enough to read it so that the writing would pay for itself ?

God knows, writing is salvation, maybe the only salvation.
Sep 09


Posted by Skard in Untagged 


A friend of my sister's has a backpackers and is willing to offer me work; he wants to see me to discuss what I can do and where he can fit me in, and so on, and it's urgent, I believe he has a big group booking coming up.  

Sep 07


Posted by Skard in Untagged 


Earlier this year I was taken to Somerset Hospital by ambulance, where a large gash across my nose and right eye, and multiple deep vertical cuts on my wrists were stitched up.

Either the police or the hospital contacted my sister, my only family in Cape Town, but she wouldn't come to see me; she couldn't deal with the situation. (and I understand).

The next morning I was put into a sort of "half-way" ward, and stayed there until the next day, when I was evaluated and assessed by a panel of psychiatric staff - they decided I did not need to be put in a mental ward, and told me that I was discharged.
I had no-where to go.

They phoned around to shelters and this one in Simonstown agreed to take me. I was told that I'd have to take a train and a taxi. 

There is really no way to decribe the utter despair and disbelief I felt; they were going to send me into the outside world covered in bandages, bloof, unable to see from one eye?

Yes, they were. That's how it goes now. And I did not have money with me, but that was also not a concern, I think I was supposed to wait for someone to bring some, or beg some , or something. As long as I was out of the bed and out of the hospital I could have slept in the street, it seems

Thank God for the driver of one of the provincial patient transport service vehicles who must have seen that I could not have coped; I have since realised that he took such pity on me that he must have fudged the truth about his route a bit (or something) because he brought me all the way here - and it is a long drive. I must find him and thank him.

Hectic, hectic.


Sep 07


Posted by Skard in Untagged 


I am so much better mind-health-wise; I'll write about the why's and wherefore's some other time. The thing is that I landed at this shelter, in February, staright from hospital, with blood in my hair and ears, stitches on my face and and wrists - traumatised and shell-shocked; not only from the physical impact of the suicide attempt but from the months and years of stress, loss and pain which went before, and the rejection of family and friends; the refusals to help. 

Losing my job (again) in October last year pushed me over the edge (I don't blame my employer, I had been behaving bizarely for a few months.) I can recall the shock on the day I was told that my contract would not be renewed; I sat on the train in a haze, and decided right then that the time had finally come to carry through the suicide plans that had been with me, on & off, for years. I decided to "live" until my money ran out and then, quite simply, die. (by my own hands) It didn't seem as if anyone would mind too much.

In retrospect I can see that I had lost my mind; I did some really irrational things over the followng two months. 

I've been trying to find the proper term/description for the mindspace I was in; I can't. Ever heard the terms "driven mad with grief", or driven over the edge with despair" ? 

Here are some words and terms I have from the Oxford dictionary I've looked at...

MAD; mentally ill, insane. ***(Well, I was metally ill).

INSANE: in or relating to an unsound state of mind, seriously metally ill.

PSYCHOSIS: a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.
EDGE: the outside limit of an object, area, or surface.

The Cambridge Advanced Learners' Dictionary classifies INSANE as:
mentally ill (informal); also extremely unreasonable.

So, then, I've been through some serious shit. I'm seeing my doctor (psychiatrist) on the 16th, and I'm going to print this out and ask what definition they (the medical professionals) would use.

Other words that are relevant and interesting are psyche, psycho, and -pathy:

-PATHY: suffering, feeling.
PSYCHE: the human soul, mind, or spirit.
PSYCHO: relating to the breath, soul or mind.
(* all Greek origin)

Sep 05


Posted by Skard in Untagged 


It took a while for the people - both insiders and outsiders - at the shelter for the homeless in the valley to work out that my accent is not put on and that I am not a pretender, basically, not to be intimidated by what I suppose can be described as a higher level of education, a different background - what they called "a LARNY", and for them to realise that I do not look down on them.

I have always placed a HUGE value on manners, and not the social lubrication type thing, that's easy, but manners that come from the heart, from respecting other people's humanity. If ever there was a testing ground for this, it is living at a homeless shelter. I haven't gone out of my way to be in anyone's good books or to be popular; on the contrary, I've had to learn how to be tougher and to fight back in ways that I don't enjoy.

For the last three months I've been getting the odd comment about being "such a lovely person" and I thought it had a lot to do with just greeting people, common courtesy, and that I generally show the world a smiling face. Which it has.

Since my return to the internet, which means walking through the village to the internet cafe, I have greeted every "bergie" along the road, I know them from the lunch-time soup kitchen at the shelter gate. It's almost a royal procession .... walk, wave, smile, greet.

But I see that the shelter people are genuinely fond of me; the men and the women, and the supervisor and manager; they just like me it seems.

And it's a lovely feeling; I have had so much rejection and my illness has scared so many people off and friends have deserted me; so even if it is just in this small corner of the world that I am valued and liked, I feel quite good about it.

Sep 04


Posted by Skard in Untagged 


About 4 weeks ago I met a guy who I was actually prepared to talk to (people around here are dodgy).  He is unattractive and flabby - not a healthy looking person - but clean and well-dressed and as I am starved of company, it was great to just be able to chat to someone reasonably "normal".

He also appeared to be kind and thoughtful and considerate, so I told him that I currently live at the shelter, which is not some thing I broadcast because of the stiga, and he confessed that he had been there himself for a year, 6 years ago.

I visited him at his home the next day and was shocked at the state of the place; he has been working for the last 6 years so there should be more furniture, fresher, newer linen, maybe a microwave? The place was more than a bit dirty and damp and dingy and worn ... 

We went out for breakfast and again, had a great chat. I'm was so happy to have met a friend. Then, of course he hits on me (very politely) and I turn him down. Gently. He handles that well. I think, OK, maybe give this guy a chance, friendship wise.....

The next Saturday he invites me to meet him for a drink; when I get to the pub just after lunch the man is WASTED. DRUNK. Has been drinking since 9:30.

By now I've heard that he drinks a lot, and I figure that that probably is where a lot of his money goes ..... little did I know.

A big black dude walks into the pub and my radar goes on full alert; 30 minutes later my new "friend" is buying a rock from him within EARSHOT OF ME !!!  He must have thought I would be OK with that sort of thing, which makes him CRAZY and not so nice and not so insightful after all.

I left. Got a pleading and very apologetic phone call. So I met him to hear what he has to say, and he apologises and so on, and says that crack is not the problem, booze is. He just needed the crack because he was anxious to impress me and it would have sobered him up. (?)

I decline further contact and ignore his sms and phone calls;  he calls last night from a diffrent cell, and says "you are a lovely person but it won't work anyway because I can't tell my friends where you live".

This is really very funny to me. As in ha-ha, are you crazy dude? Wash your own brain man.

Sep 03


Posted by Skard in Untagged 

This is a question that makes me very unpopular and causes an outcry when I pose it in real life; only thought of outting it in a post recently.

Why do we have children? What drives us?

I'm hopeless, I love love love babies and kids and young people, but I would not put another one on this earth (though of course my son is a miracle).

I saw an interview with Dr Jane Goodall recently in which she said that there seems to be a "disconnect" between the human heart and brain - with all our knowledge and advances we are destoying our only home (this planet).

A line from the movie The Matrix that has stuck with me is from "Agent Smith" saying human beings are a virus, comsuming everything in their path and just breeding ... isn't that true ????

Sure the world has always been a mess and there has always been famine and torture and pain and suffering and millions of lives have been lived senselessly; are we not better equipped to choose now?

Why expose a new life to the age of superbugs, digital sexual predators, rampant global terrorism, and lack of physical safety ? Especially now hen life expectancy is so much longer ?

These are my thoughts .....
Nov 25


Posted by Skard in Untagged 


It is a wave that I cannot avoid, and it rolls over me and carries me down. In the cold darkness there is no bottom and no top, in its black depths wait despair, and the utter horror and awfulness of everything; of my weakness and inability to care for myself and my child, of my broken heart and beaten flesh and shattered dreams, of the secret darkness within me that has warped my life and will inevitably continue to do so. Of love that wounds and kills, and life that hangs over an abyss, and death that waits at the end of it all.  Of years and years of fear still to come, and of loss, and of aloneness. Aloneness lies outside and around and beyond me, wild and total and empty and endless. I will carry it with me wherever I run, and it will carry me away with it forever and for all time.   (apologies to Anne Rivers Siddons)

Funny. I like "me" time, need a lot of it, so always thought I'd be fine alone, on my own. Fool. For the last few years, suppose since turning forty, I have been feeling desperately "alone". Isolated. It echoes off the depression I struggle with and I know that it ads to it, and it all becomes a cycle. But I didn't get CLEAR about it until I heard someone say last week that they cannot cope without love, with being alone, and I thought, neither can I...... lightbulb.
Jun 26


Posted by Skard in Untagged 


I was told, yesterday, that Muslim people dont "do" oral sex, they regard it as a sin. I'm AMAZED. That's more than a billion people, I'm told that this is observed by about 70% of "Muslims observe this.

So I've been wanting to write about it, share this very interesting fact, but there is no way I'm putting sex in a blog header again, and absolutely no way I'm combining it with any religion / cullture.

This is also not about sex, it's about how ignoant we can be; I'm generally a walking dictionary, and I knew, of course, that there are all sorts of sexual taboos (including 1 or 2 in my own space) but maybe it's the thing with the downfall of Christianity, the Western World, we're not a cohesive group, we've lost so many of the principles and beliefs that wove us together.

So I'm reconfiguring world demographics. And looking very differently at the people on the train. You just never know. Everything, that is. Never know everything.

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