April 18, 2014

Roads to Recovery

I think this has been the hardest term I have ever had.  I don't know if it is the workload, the uncertainty of future programme deliveries, or just a final reaction to all the events of the past three years but I know I have felt the burnout and tiredness more than usual. I know that the people I work with have also felt it and illness and stress have taken their toll on us all this term.

On top of it all we have had a grey autumn of rain - preceded by a 1 in a 100 year rainstorm ( 75mm in 48 hrs) and apparently we have passed 100 years as we are in the middle of another one - what - a 100 days later? Already 65mm in 24 hours.... and damage across the whole country.  Seeing the Royal Couple enjoying the sun of Sydney has been hard!

This morning I read and commented on Adulcia's blog, a fellow Christchurch resident.  She said exactly how I felt ...

I’ll admit it, I'm tired.
It's been a busy term and I'm just running out of oomph.
Imagine you're out in the bush and it's a bit cold and wet (like this autumn weather has been the last few weeks) and you start shivering.  That's okay because it's your body keeping itself warm, but it also consumes energy, and when that energy runs out you stop shivering, and now you're in serious danger.  Don't mind me, you just carry on without me.  I'll be fine, I'll just have a little rest under this tree. Anyone who knows survival would be stopping right there, organising a shelter, getting you out of your wet clothes and into a  sleeping bag with a warm chocolaty drink (if you're still capable of holding the cup), and getting help.

Image Source
All the strategies I’ve learned for looking after myself have been just enough to keep me coping, just like the shivering.  But they’re taking up energy, and I’m getting tired.  And it’s not even winter yet.
Matthew 11:28-30 NIV:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
This Easter, I’m taking the time to rest, really rest.  (And indulge in a little bit of nice rich dark chocolate…).

So I commented back for her...

I know that feeling - I can recognise I am burnt out and stressed and my ability to care has shrivelled - I have stopped shivering. Good example!
Yesterday a random stranger spoke to me at the work copy machine. It wasn't printing... it was nearly the final straw for her and she said - is it just me? I cant handle the workload, the hours drive to work through gridlock- the rain - the need to shop, cook, clean and cope. Its all so hard at the moment.
I assured her she was not alone - she was nice - I hope I see her again. I connected briefly with someone I had never seen before and felt a little better. We are not alone in this - admitting we are feeling this to each other might be the way we survive without moving away, quitting jobs, resorting to drugs or suicide. Relationships might be better.
I hate feeling like this. I hate the feeling that I want to hibernate and lick my wounds and cry. It is so not my usual self. But I can also accept that life has been tough for a while for many reasons and that the positives there are will get me through - and the sun will come out again. Rest and chocolate... take care xxxxx
Sadly I don't have any chocolate to eat here at home without breaking into the precious supplies I have hidden away for Phoebe, Molly and Caitlin.... and I won't do that.  

But there are positives - heaps and heaps. Thank you to my children - for James and Jess who came to my concert this week, to Alex and Liam for their help with the house and the garden and their company - to Kirsty for her regular visits, to Mum and Dad for their wonderful support, and to my other Mum who rang last night too to chat across the miles. To Julie and Linda and Kirsten at work for sharing the load even though I have been struggling - and Libby in Nelson where i will soon have a short getaway (sun or not).
The house is now totally mine; the roof will be replaced shortly; the garden rearrangements are well underway; I have a truly delightful boarder, Katrina, a past student who knows me well,  lovely times with Jaz and Jo and their gorgeous families. 

When you think of Christchurch, please don't ask us to hurry along and get over it. The earthquake has created exciting opportunities for many, and shattered the lives of others. But the whole city has altered and this has impacted on anyone still living here. 

This home is under urgent demolition after splitting in two this week - THREE years after the quake. For many of the people the stress is still there as they deal with the cracks, insurance issues, and now flooding. Just check out some of these articles....

and Debs excellent post on brokenness in Christchurch: http://deb-robertson.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/on-brokenness.html

For me, it is hard for me to know where earthquake stress stops and stress from dealing with the past relationship with a psychopath starts. Seeing the hidden sadism and narcissism, the proof of lack of empathy and remorse and the indifference to people has altered my own attitude to life and people. Words fail us that someone like this can run the type of business he is apparently venturing into.  An area where trust and honesty should be total - with a person incapable of either.

When you see people dealing with narcissistic abuse, don't think "it's just a breakup, get over it". Yes it is a breakup - but it's one that undermines your trust in people and the recognition of how sociopathic people manipulate, act as chameleons, and thrive on deception and lying, while appearing caring and charming means we don't see people the same way anymore.... we have to evaluate our responses to everyone we meet. The paradigm shift to our lifestyle, view of reality, usual perceptions and challenges, take extra time and effort to work through.

In my work I meet a lot of young people, particularly women.  I know that many of them struggle with their relationships at times - and I am increasingly aware we need to educate people into the risks of narcissists. I have been very impressed at the work Lesley Elliott is doing since her daughter Sophie was murdered by Clayton Weatherspoon.  A chilling narcissistic psychopath.... 


Watching Oscar P on trial also rings a few bells!

You can read more or send your children to read this.  
The Sophie Elliot Foundation http://www.sophieelliottfoundation.co.nz/
or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sophieelliottfoundation

and a recent article http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/9881592/Love-Me-Not-lessons-designed-to-warn-of-risk
He was described as "the epitome of evil" but was recognised too late.
No-one intervened before Clayton Weatherston brutally murdered his former girlfriend, Sophie Elliott, in 2008, but new initiatives aim to make intervention more likely in future.A programme to arm young New Zealand women with the tools to recognise abuse in their partner is in the last stages of being prepared. It is the culmination of a vision by Sophie's grieving mother, Lesley Elliott.Lesley Elliott has pushed for the initiative for the past six years through the Sophie Elliott Foundation."I firmly believe if Sophie had a programme like Loves Me Not in her final years at school she would have known when things went wrong in her relationship," she said."I know that getting this programme off the ground is what Sophie would have wanted."We estimate over 70 women have been murdered at the hands of their partner or ex-partner since Sophie's death - there is still much to do to protect our nation's daughters."
If you think it doesn't apply to you, have a think about your workplace, your friends. your professional people such as lawyers, doctors, police... how many are really genuine? 

“People in general don't realize how MANY sociopaths exist in our society– 1 in 25. That means out of every 100 people you meet, 4 of them have no empathy, no conscience, no ability to attach to others, and have no experience with guilt, remorse, or any other reason NOT to do bad things to other people or animals. There is NO softness in them. They are ice. They are evil– and they remain that way for the rest of their lives. You cannot cure evil because that which makes a person care enough not to cause harm does not exist in their brains. Most may even be born that way.
There are people who lose their tempers and strike out. There are people who make mistakes because they are overwhelmed. This is not the kind of abuse we're talking about [with sociopaths]. [People like this] have heart-rates that go down when they abuse others. They get extra calm and calculated and the pleasure centres in their brains light up when they induce pain and suffering.”
I also mentioned this:
Beware of people who are charming. Charm is a verb, not a trait. It requires ACTING ability. Always remember that. Why does anyone have to pretend to be something they aren't all the time? Why is image so important? Sociopaths are always shallow liars.And if anyone you know seems to thrive on self-pity, even as an able-bodied adult? Watch out. Sociopaths love to manipulate through a trait they don't possess– your ability to feel sorry for others. “
If you are dealing with anyone with sociopathic/ narcissistic/ psychopathic or worse, added paedophilic/sadistic tendencies, there is a lot of help.
I have grouped some of the articles I found useful together - knowledge is essential to learn how to protect yourself and your children from this.

Chocolate and rest can only go so far! 
Time and friends and family and music will sort the rest.
Have a Happy Easter 


  1. Such serious subjects, Fiona; they deserve comments well thought through but since I can't do that right now, I'll limit this one to letting you know that I very much like your last few lines, and am glad you have all those healing things and people in your life.
    Happy Easter!

  2. You sound like you've had a hell of a time. I hope and wish for good things for you in the future. Take care my blogging friend

  3. I'm feeling strangely puzzled and depressed. I've worked with the public and politicians all my professional life and I've come across a fair few socio-paths so I'm not naive but this post almost leaves me thinking I live in a bubble of idealistic unreality. Is the outlook really so bleak? All I can say at the moment, Fiona, is that I hope life improves for you.

    1. I used to live in that bubble GB and my eyes have been opened.... If it was better known about there would be less opportunity for them to manipulate us. As I have been told, you can't protect yourself from something you didn't know existed. You also expect you would recognise evil. Not that it would arrive as the answer to your hearts desire!
      Onwards and upwards :)

  4. Unfortunately, evil does exist. It lives and breathes. I'm not smart enough tot have any answers, other than to practice vigilance. On the other hand, there are people who balance the scales. For every pathologically evil person, there is AT LEAST one person willing to ignore personal well-being in order to help others. I firmly believe this. That's pretty much what my post today is about... http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-helpers.html ... and I'm sure you've seen similar in your recent years in Christchurch.

    1. SO true Jim - and I have been grateful for many helpers this year. There are plenty of wonderful people out there - :)


Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!


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