It's Been A While......Again!

I've been having a few problems recently. Well, for the past eight months, if I'm honest.

I'm struggling with who I am. What I am, and what the hell I'm doing with my life.

I have so much going on - busy and fractious relationships at home, hectic workload at work, and my mind is constantly whirring with it all. I don't know if it's me, my illness or something else. I can't seem to focus on the good stuff over the bad.

Sure, my pain has been at an all time high. My days are full - even though, to some, they would seem quite empty. I think my life is busy, so busy, but when I sit down and analyse what each day amounts to I get a whole load of nothing. 

I still work. My pain threshold is reached by the middle of the first shift each week. I used to do three shifts, but I lost my PIP (A UK benefit paid to disabled folk) in April, and my appeal is currently with HM Courts & Tribunals, so it's been a long haul, and not over yet. Because of losing my PIP I have had to take on extra shifts to make up the shortfall in my income, and to be frank, it's killing me. Slowly. I've done five overtime shifts in four weeks and taken on an extra night shift on a Thursday. It's only six hours more but it's really taking its toll on my health and mental well being.

For the first time in many years I ran out of my pain meds five days before I was due a new prescription and, despite me thinking that they don't work, they actually must, because my pain has been through the roof! (Got my new prescription today, so building up the resistance again!!)

There are moments of absurd joy combined with periods of intense pain and depression.

I keep referring to my past as a marker for my current situation. Trying desperately to pin it down to one single act, illness or event and I keep coming back to my relationship (or lack of relationship) with my mother. My name "McArthur" links me to so much bad stuff - my mother's abusive relationship with my father, my conception (yes it goes that deep) through assault, or rape, the fact my mother told me that she never really wanted me. Growing up in the seventies, with an indifferent mother, trying to cling to a family that, apart from my grandparents, didn't want me. It all must have a bearing. All of this 'bad' juju - it has to figure, somewhere, in where I am now.

In the seventies I had two over-riding influencers - my step dad, Peter, and my grandfather, Ricky. Sadly, I lost Ricky to cancer in 1976, three days before my eleventh birthday (I still have the card from that birthday - the last one ever to say "Love Nana & Ricky") and I lost, then found, Peter just five days before his death on November 24th last year. See 

Since then there has been something weighing on my mind. 

Something telling me that I need to honour the two main influencers of my life. The first one was Ricky - or, to give him his real name: William Richards (Ricky) a man who cared more for me than himself, a man who, until his diagnosis with cancer, was going to adopt me as his son when my mother couldn't be bothered with me, a man who I loved beyond words despite my young age. Secondly was Peter - Peter Smith, the man who actually became my father when Ricky no longer could be. And what a Dad he was, funny, fun-loving, mischievous, faithful, strong, honest, loyal. But he wasn't strong enough to handle my mother. We lost touch after they divorced. Drifting in and out of each others lives every so often before finally losing touch after I married. In 2011 I was told he'd died in 2009. having not seen him since 1996 I accepted it as a missed opportunity until November of last year when my bother told me he was still alive, but seriously ill.

I'm thankful I got the opportunity to see him again - even if it was for just three more times in the five days before he died. I was a pall bearer for him at his funeral on 5th December 2017.

I have a strong desire to honour these two remarkable men in my life and, at the same time, repel a lot of demons, holding me back.

One way I can do this is to take their names - and that is my plan. It's something I never got to do while they were alive (Peter never got round to officially adopting me so I retained the name McArthur instead of Smith) but I want to do it now, as a form of closure for them both.

I'm looking to change, by deed poll, my name to Gary William Peter Richards.

I'll let you know when it happens.

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