Wants And Needs 2012 – Revisited

At the start of the year I posted a list of “resolutions” that I hoped to achieve through 2012. I thought I would take a few minutes to get back to the point and see how well I did.

You can read the original post here

  • Writing More – Well, my output didn’t increase massively. I did however stretch my reach a little away from my own blogs. I contributed a couple of times to the most excellent This Week In Mentalists strand over at the The World Of Mentalists. I also joined the team over at Scribes of Metal a new Rock and Heavy Metal News and Reviews site. I have given a couple of reviews for albums this year (the new Rob Zombie Remix album and the Led Zeppelin Reunion album Celebration Day I hope to do more with both sites in the following year.
  • Reading More – I have certainly read more in the past year than I have in any year since I left college. Having said that I can’t quite recall if I have read more than 12 books. I do know I have had more than a few very late nights where I have gotten caught up in a book and not been able to put it down. The most memorable would have to be “The Heroin Diaries” by Nikki Sixx. It is a collection of diary entries from one year leading up to his choice to get himself clean. The honesty in that one book alone had a profound effect on me. He was able to show an honesty and a trust in his readership to take his story and run with it and make their lives better and more productive. I am currently half way through his follow up memoir “This Is Gonna Hurt”. Sixx once clean needed a new outlet for his creativity and he used Photography. Again another massive inspiration for me. Briefly, Brendan o’ Carroll (he of Mrs Browns Boys Fame) has had me in stitches at ungodly hours of the morning with his first two novels about Mrs Brown. They were such easy reads that I really wish that they were twice the length so I could have had more to read. I have one more to read in the series and I am saving it for a time when I am a bit down.
  • Website Theme – The website design that is in effect at the moment is the design that I set out to create. I didn’t 98% of the work myself. The other 2% came from my Brother and the guy who designed the base theme. Yes I know I wanted to create a whole theme, but I found a theme I thought looked pretty good out of the box, but I wanted a more personal stamp on it. So, I went down the route of a Child Theme. It’s the best of both worlds and I now have something to work on when I want to move forward.
  • Other Sites – My other website phurwood.co.uk is no more. I don’t know why but I went out and purchased the domain paulhurwood.com. It was a spur of the moment thing and it sat there for quite a while whilst I decided what I wanted to do with the domain. I don’t do much of anything really so it was doomed to another blog. In reality it has taken the content from every site I have ever had through the ages (with the exception of this and Spnak in it’s photographic guise). It is now a website that I plan on focusing more of my time on in 2013.
  • Other Health – I mentioned before about taking better care of myself, health wise. Well that pretty much didn’t happen. I am now eating a lot less than I was this time last year (and it wasn’t much back then). I seem to have developed an aversion to certain random foods. My sense of taste is buggering everything up. Food tastes off or not quite right. If I do manage to eat a regular meal it is a 50/50 chance that it won’t make a reappearance. My GP has no idea what could be causing the problem. The diabetes is still out of control, but I have had my injection medication changed to a once a day kind so I should be able to get the doses I need to help bring it under control.

So that’s how the last year has gone in relation to what I set out to achieve. I am not sure that there will be another resolution based post on IJAR this year. All I do know it that in 2013 I HAVE to focus on getting better and getting my life back to some kind of order. 2012 had a lot of bad points that knocked me back far to much. I am only now just getting back to a semblance of normality after the whole Insomnia and Voices issues. hope you all have a great 2013. Be safe and look out for one another

I hope you all have a great 2013. Be safe and look out for one another.

Until Next Time…


As I mentioned in my last post I have been hearing voices for a while now and my CPN and Psychiatrist have insisted that I carry on implementing my current coping strategies and develop more. This is a challenge to me, mainly because the things I use at the moment have pretty much always worked in the past. I have never really had to stretch myself to find new ones. Eventually all of what I know how to do will work. Continue reading

The Next Step

So, where to begin. There is a post that is sat in my drafts section that I just cannot bring myself to post. Even by my standards it’s a whiny pile of crap. Yes I guess if you read it you could feel a modicum of sympathy for my current situation but in the long run I really should just take the ball and start running my flabby arse off to get to the next part of my life.

As with everyone who is reliant on Benefits there comes a time when you realise that things cannot go on they way they are and you have top make a choice about where to go next.

In short, my family doesn’t have enough money to get through the month. It is no ones fault. We are a medically crocked family. E.S.A. is what it is and as I have mentioned before I have gotten away with more than my fair share of luck in the whole process. I have been in the past so wrapped up in my own claim I let matters that effect others in my family slip by. So whilst I was defending myself I was letting down others and not fighting their corner. I can’t change this situation now, but I can alter how things are ahead of us.

On Monday of this week I had a CPN meeting and I spent pretty much 50% of the meeting explaining about our situation and my CPN asked me outright if I was willing to go and meet with some people who MAY be able to help me out in search for work. Put on the spot I had to think quick. Of course ever since October 2008 I have thought about the prospect of going back to work at some point. At 38 I am to young to be on the scrap heap of life. I know I have more to offer, more to give someone who could be willing to give me a chance. I agreed to meet with these people (hoping that they weren’t some kind of slave traders who sold the disabled too unscrupulous employers for peanuts.)

That night was the night Panorama and Channel 4 broadcast their programmes about ATOS and the Work Capability Assessments (WCA) I have only seen the Panorama show so far but one line of narration in that programme pricked my ears up on stalks, it went something like:

Employment Support Allowance recipients in the Support Group are the group who are not expected to ever work again!

Other things in that programme gave me conflicting thoughts and gut reactions. There were people who quite plainly had more (different) healthcare issues to myself and in my eyes most were worse off than I personally feel at this time. Without getting into the debate of who is more entitled, I had to think more on the subject of the question of could I work again if given a chance?

I spent the rest of this week up until today (Thursday) thinking about how I could go into a meeting and explain my situation. I did what I always do.. I winged it. I just answered the questions as I was asked them in the most truthful way I could. The lady I spoke to listened and wasn’t at all pushy and has left it up to me to decide if I want to go forward with joining them in my efforts to find paid work. She was adamant about a couple of things though. She insisted that I sign up to Do-It and at least apply for one volunteering position. This is an easy thing to do as I had been on this site before (albeit at 3am one morning where I didn’t sign up to anything for fear of it coming back in the cold light of day and biting me on the arse).

So she sends me off with an information pack about their organisation and an agreement to get in touch in a week and let her know what I had decided. I headed home with so many more questions in my head than I had before I had gone in there but with one firm resolve…

I had to start somewhere to get somewhere.

As the title suggests, there IS a next step and I have started that ball rolling. I have signed up to Do-It and I have applied to the local branch of Rethink. I had met one of the people who run that branch during my Recovery Group sessions and bad health had stopped me from getting in touch before hand but I have now made the leap and I now just have to wait and see if they get back in touch. I am formulating a plan in my head that will help me help myself with help from others. It’s not going to be a quick over night transformation, but I have a goal now and I have the startings of a purpose again.

Until Next Time…

Ideas Springing

It’s not often that I get too many ideas for creative endeavours but I seem to be on somewhat of a roll. These ideas whilst exciting to me right now, I just hope that I can maintain this possible momentum.

In my last post I made mention that I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to get out of the Creative Arts group. I think maybe it was designed to help spur the user into exploring a different avenue that they hadn’t been using before. In my case (I can’t speak for the others on the course) reignite that spark that had been extinguished.

I doubt that it will be as straight forward as it seems right now. At the moment I envisage me sat at the computer rattling off idea after idea and it being received like a brand new Harry Potter novel. I know I have issues to overcome before I can really take full benefit from this latest spurt of creativity.

One thing is for sure though… I am really enjoying the idea of having ideas again, having something to develop and offer back to something.

As they say… WATCH THIS SPACE.

Until Next Time…

Back On The Horse

After taking the second half of March off from pretty much everything, I am back trying to wrestle some kind of creativity back into my life. The only thing that has been a constant for me is my daily postings to my photoblog www.spnak.com. I have, without fail, posted one post/image a day since late December. I have found something that I can focus on and improve at without needing to get external validation. It doesn’t matter to me what others think. I am taking the pictures everyday to see how much better today’s image is compared to yesterdays, what apps work for that style of shot.

I have been bitten by the photography bug. I spend more time during the day looking at other photographers websites. I spend quite a bit of time going through the Instagram iPhone app looking at neat images that defy the realms of what I thought a phone could do.

As I had mentioned before I spent about 3 months locked in the house hiding away from the invisible eyes spying on me. A side effect of coming out of the other side of that is that I now feel the urge to go out so much more than I ever did before. Unfortunately I still can’t manage this on my own and I try and make plans that means I can get out with either Linda or Mum. Things happen though and sometimes it’s not possible and I get my knickers in a twist and end up feeling pent up and frustrated that I can’t go out. At this point in time I don’t see what’s stopping me from going solo. The rational side of my brain is saying “Go For It.. what’s the worst that can happen?” the irrational side of my head is screaming “Don’t Go Out.. they will see”. I think I need to take baby steps again. Maybe take a walk around the corner and see what I can see. You see all this impetus to go out is to go out and get more pictures for the photoblog. (I’m hooked.. I told you as much).

I mentioned in my mini update that I had been referred to a Creative Arts Group. Well the first session was last Tuesday and feeling rather apprehensive I showed up and decided to give it my best shot. Now I have NEVER EVER proclaimed to be an artist (maybe a piss artist in my youth.) I don’t create art, I do STUFF. It’s the way I have always been. You need to have a set of skills to create art. If I create anything that resembles good, “it’s a fluke, I got lucky that time.” I don’t count my leanings to photography as Art yet.. I see that as a stepping stone to finding something I can finally learn to be good at. So attending a Creative Arts group would help in seeing the things around me in a different way.

The group is small which is great for me, it’s not overwhelming and I don’t feel as conspicuous by being there. It has a great feeling, a feeling that eventually we will spend most of the two hours relaxing and hanging doing something creative together. We were sent an itinerary of what will happen over the 12 weeks of the group and there doesn’t seem to be anything geared towards a group project, but from the way the first session went, a session or two could quite easily morph into something group orientated, we’ll see.

The first session was Still Life Drawing. There was a 3D collage of items set up in the middle of a few tables pushed together. We were asked to draw what we saw. Be it the whole collage or just one section of it. I knew, for the life of me, I wouldn’t be able to draw the whole thing so I chose a Jar. It was kind of like a Pasta jar without a lid. I spent the first 45 minutes fumbling around trying to get it right, but basically came out with a bunch of stick figures that tried to look like a jar. I think the facilitators of the group could see my frustrations as I spent more time with an eraser in my hand than a pencil. It just so happened that on the whiteboard in the room the resident artist had drawn a diagram of how to draw the jar I was attempting. He explained to me the principle of blocking out the Jar and drawing it in sections. Slowly I started again following his instructions. Over the next 40 minutes my stick figure jar actually transformed into something that actually resembled what I wanted it to. I even got cocky and drew in some detail and shaded the jar. At the end of the session both group leaders commented on how good it looked, and you know what, I was actually pleased that I had improved over the 2 hour period. It felt good.. an instant boost to my self esteem.

Next week it’s collage.

Well that’s it for me for now. I hope no one was April Fooled to badly today. I stayed in bed until 11 so I only had to manage an hour without getting humiliated.

Until Next Time…


A Quick Update

Things have been quieter around here than normal this month. About two and a half weeks ago I started to notice an unusual spike in bandwidth being used from this blogs account. Sure enough the next day I got an automated email from my host stating that I was close to running out of bandwidth.

Luckily my host is my brother who is also my go to person with anything related to the websites design or technical doodats. We have spent the past couple of weeks trying to tie down the problem and get it fixed. It has all come down to a plugin I had been using to feed images from my posts on here to RSS readers.

I have no disabled it and my brother is working with the developer to try and get the plugin fixed. I am hoping it does get fixed as I think it’s a plugin with great potential and it really helps out on my photo blog Spnak. I think if someone is reading in an RSS reader (like Google Reader) then a small thumbnail in the extract of the post is a great incentive to come over and take a look at the whole thing.

OK enough about the blog itself.. I have been referred to a Creative Arts group at my CMHT. That starts next Tuesday at the ungodly hour of 10am. I have enough trouble putting the kettle on at 10am let alone being creative, but it’s something I have wanted to do for a few years and to finally have an opportunity to do it I am not going to pass it over. I shall fill you in on more of the details in my next post (which probably won’t be until April.. but hey)

Until Next Time…