Perfection –  because of shame? 

Following on from my article “Price of Perfection” posted recently..  A friend of mine, a past client,  mentioned that a tendency towards perfectionism can come from shame. She and I both know that one! She recommended this TED talk from Brene Brown.  I had seen it before and found it really helpful.  Always worth another look when you have had problems in the past – they can try and sneak up on you again! 

Have a look: 

Price of Perfection

The Price of Perfection

I wrote this article from my own struggles with trying to be perfect – so I wouldn’t get caught out making any mistakes with ensuing pain and disgrace!

It was published by Woman Alive magazine in their May 2001 edition. It is reprinted by permission of Woman Alive.

I hope anyone reading this will find it useful.  Please click on the title and the article will be shown…

Best wishes for being who you are!



The Importance of a Good Ending

Wise words Nick. wishing you well in your new life adventure.

The Sensitive Gut

endingsThis week I left The IBS Network.  I had been involved with the charity for 25 years as medical adviser, editor of Gut Reaction, volunteer CEO and chair of trustees.  I had seen it through bad times and better.  And like a marriage, the organisation and I had become part of each other.  But with the charity buoyant, a competent team of office staff in place and  supported by a dedicated board of trustees and an enthusiastic cohort of advisers, it was time to hand over and leave.

This year’s Christmas party was also my leaving do.  I took the opportunity to thank the sfaff, trustees and volunteers for their dedication to the charity over many years, to praise their success and to encourage the patients and health care professionals on the advisory board to continue to support what is a vital service for many people with IBS.   Everybody then…

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Decoding the symptoms of your IBS

Excellent piece – the connection between physical symptoms and emotional triggers are well explained. The second to last paragraph on “secondary gain” particularly revealing. Unconsciously demanding what we dare not or cannot speak out or ask.

The Sensitive Gut

enigma-plugboardOne of the first lessons people learn when they attend self help groups for IBS is that everybody’s symptoms are different.  Some people have diarrhoea and abdominal pain that starts early in the morning and doesn’t let up until they are at work, others suffer with bloating later in the day,  others are constipated whenever they go away anywhere.  And it’s not just the bowel symptoms that vary, people diagnosed with IBS often have a variety of other symptoms. Backache, fatigue,  headaches, breathlessness, indigestion are some of the most common, but any bodily symptom can co-exist with IBS.  Whether the illness is diagnosed as IBS or ME or Fibromyalgia or any other syndrome depends on which symptoms might predominate and which doctor they see, but whatever the diagnosis, the symptoms of these overlapping conditions vary so much that they might be regarded as an individual expression of who you are…

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“Never mind dear, learn to type.”

first typewriter lookalike

My education had to stop when I was 15 as our single parent and elderly person household was not able to manage without a little more income.

In preparation for NOT going to 6th form at the Ilminster Girls’ Grammar School, I was advised by my head teacher (wonderful but scary woman) to take typing and shorthand lessons and get some sort of qualification suitable for a working class young woman of slender means.

I remember the strain of carting my typewriter – similar to that in the photograph – across Chard, typing for the evening and then carrying it back home.   I did get both 25 and 35 wpm RSA typing certificates.  Shorthand – it didn’t happen. English is a struggle and being dyslexic and dyspraxia means that any symbols do not dig themselves into my memory very well.  It was the same with music theory…

However,  I am very glad indeed that I did get typing lessons as well as exercise for my bicep muscles.  Touch typing is a great skill to have in this computer age.  Upgrading to 60 wpm audio typing also got me a job when I desperately needed to put groceries on the table. That speed wasn’t achieved on an upright typewriter I hasten to add!

Computers have also supported me in my quest in my mid forties to upgrade my education.  Various software programmes have helped me organise myself, remember things and be able to get my thoughts out in some semblance of clarity.  Although being rather unhinged when numbers and arithmetic come into things, I took like a duck to water on the software for analysing social sciences data and I loved the graphics I could produce to visually explain my findings.    Nowadays, I can even speak into the computer and it types up my words (although my lingering Somerset accent with  soft consonants and broad vowels gives it a few puzzles…).  I still prefer to type though – I don’t misunderstand myself.

Out of need, in my late twenties, I learned the therapeutic value of writing out my frazzled emotions and tangled thoughts.  In the last five years or so my fingers and hands have decided to become tiresomely lacking in strength making it difficult for me to keep my hand-written journals. Hyper-mobile joints with lax tendons and ligaments rather than arthritic stiffness is the problem apparently. I have adjusted to writing my journal notes straight onto a keyboard with those touch typing skills coming into their own yet again.

I must admit that am glad that I do not have to haul a huge upright typewriter around with me anymore. It was hard when I was a teenager let alone now I am approaching my mid-sixties! I have a smallish bag with my iPhone, iPad, Bluetooth keyboard, various chargers and wifi equipment.

I remain grateful for the advice given to my 15 year old self, although I don’t think my head teacher expected me to go any farther than the typing pool and certainly not to a doctorate and private psychology practice!




Stop The Clocks. A great read…

image   Joan Bakewell has turned 80 years old.  Her book has given me inspiration for my upcoming ‘Autumn’ years.

Joan – a Baroness – is a regular at Hay On Wye Festival of Literature and I was glad to see her appearing again at more than one event this year.

I recommend her book to anyone who enjoys a good read – a really well written good read. Joan’s education and training led her to a freelance career, picking up as many opportunities as possible.  Her list of people she has met is extensive and awesome.  She was the first to be granted an interview with Nelson Mandela on his release from prison… Need I say more?  Joan covers topics such as love, work, names, shame, bodies, values and also on death.

Joan is a little younger than my mother who at 88 still enjoys tea dancing when she can.  Their education, careers and life experiences are very different however.  I come as the next generation and was able in my mid forties to catch up on an education I had to let go at 15.

Shall I write some thoughts on what I leave behind?  I may need to stop my clock to catch up with Joan’s lifetime accomplishments!


Nick Read post – The things that happen: childhood trauma and IBS later in life.

This is another superb post about IBS from Nick, and a very brave lady.

“Two weeks ago I received a letter from Judith.  This led to the following correspondence, which, with her permission, I have reproduced here with just a few minor edits.  Over the course of three e…

Source: The things that happen: childhood trauma and IBS later in life.

Love the unsolved questions in your heart…

I was limply idling away time after doing some work on the computer on the history of our old house we are thinking of moving from.  Walking a new path is uncertain, so many questions and so much unresolved…   I found this quote and it helped this present time sit a little more comfortably.

an unfamiliar path to walk

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves… Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet