Autobiography · Borderline Personality Disorder · Mental Health

Interlude – No Strings!

I’ve reached the end of my childhood in this blog and the reason I haven’t posted for a while is that I’ve been “taking stock” and thinking hard about how to proceed from here. We’re approaching some of the most traumatic years of my life – years which I believe are both the result of my BPD and the cause of my mental health issues in later life. I haven’t yet figured out the “chicken” vs. “egg” scenario myself – I only know that it is all linked somehow.

I’ll be trying to outline many things I have done of which I am not proud and which, if I could have my time over, I would most certainly do differently or not at all. I’ll also have to outline a lot of things that were “done to me” which I seemed at the time powerless to control. With hindsight, there are many things I could have approached differently but that’s the thing about hindsight – it’s always 20/20 and you simply can’t expect a twenty year old to have the experience and ‘wisdom’ of a sixty year old.

There’s also the fact that here and now, for the first time in my life, I really quite like who I am. My life until now is what has made me who I am – so if I could go back and do things differently – I would not be who I am today, would I? It’s all very confusing but as a believer in karma and reincarnation, I am of the opinion that I had lessons to learn in this life which necessitated me going through everything I underwent, exactly as it happened. I am, as they say on this side of the Pond, “SO over it!”.

That’s not to say that thinking about where I’m going with this autobiographical blog hasn’t stirred up some of the sediment of my life, with the usual result that visibility is drastically reduced for a while – which is why I have had a longer than usual pause between blog posts. I’ve been trying to see the way forward – what and how much should I tell; should names be named; will readers “still respect me in the morning”, so to speak? It isn’t easy to lay one’s whole life on the line but, if anyone who reads these posts is helped even slightly with something they themselves are going through, then it is worth it.

Nowadays there is information out there about, for example, self-harming and depression in young adults. Back in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s we knew nothing of these things and they were certainly never spoken about. As far as I knew, I was the only person in the world to whom these things were happening and even if help had been available I wouldn’t have known how to go about accessing it. Indeed, I didn’t actually receive any useful help until I was 52 years old and even then, in the 2000s, access to help was a postcode lottery and I was a lucky winner!

So … after the “incident” with Marjorie’s husband and my subsequent return to live with Mum, there was a certain amount of discussion about whether I should return to school. Bearing in mind my experience of school life it’s hardly surprising that I chose to turn my back on Academia once and for all and continue earning my living at Moneysave, at least for the foreseeable future. I certainly didn’t see myself staying at Moneysave forever, in spite of the fact that the wage was twice what a “proper” office job would earn me. But, it would keep me in beer and skittles while I looked about for something with long-term prospects.

Peter and I began to drift apart from then on. He was engrossed in his work and as for me, well, I was meeting a lot of different people and there was one colleague in particular who intrigued me. He was a Department Manager, 8 years my senior, and his name was John. He was witty, well-read and – like myself – something of an oddity in the supermarket business. When we first met we didn’t hit it off at all; he was rather sarcastic and dismissive of me which piqued my interest and made me determined to win him over. By dint of talking books and music together we discovered we had quite a lot in common and it wasn’t long before we were equally interested in one another. Suffice it to say at this stage that Peter and I parted on amicable terms and John soon became my steady boyfriend.

With John
With John in 1970

Working at Moneysave was a brief, happy interlude, marred only by the Store Manager’s decision to train me as a Deputy Cashier so that I could cover for the girl who made up the floats, cashed up the check-out tills at the end of the day and looked after the banking. I was flattered to be considered for this job so I didn’t mention the fact that it absolutely terrified me. Here was the girl who couldn’t even be entered for the Maths GCE about to take on responsibility for accurately recording and banking the store’s takings! Needless to say, it did not end well. I made a complete pig’s ear of my first day in the Cashier’s Office on my own and, after taking a couple of sick days (I was totally beside myself with worry and couldn’t face the thought of going back to my new role), I returned to my original job on the checkout, after ‘fessing up that I thought the Deputy Cashier’s position was not for me!!

Then, after about a year at Moneysave, I secured a job with the area’s major employer, The British Belting and Asbestos Co. Ltd (known to one and all as BBA). The position was poorly paid when compared to Moneysave but a job at BBA was considered a job for life, with a good pension and many benefits which were not available in most companies at that time. I went into Scandura Ltd, which was the conveyor belting division of the company, as a clerk in the Production Control Office and considered myself a happy girl. Little did I know what lay in store for me …

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