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A blog about OCD and Childhood Trauma whilst living in South Korea.

The thing is with trauma – is that it isn’t one size fits all. So when I started to have a meltdown – I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. 

Cue: another shite time in my life. 

I was living in South Korea at this point. My great plan was – to move to South Korea, read a ton of books and stay away from the party scene. Well. Guess what! That never happened!!! Little did I know that there is a huge drinking culture in South Korea. I managed to hibernate for my first few weeks in the country. But that quickly got boring and pretty isolating. It was not like I could just pop to the shop and pick up a magazine or a new book. So I needed to meet some other people. Some other people who could speak english. There was a huge British ex-pat scene where I was residing – and it was very welcoming. Every weekend people would visit a music festival or get the coach and hang out in Seoul. A jimjilbang is relatively cheap so travelling is  pretty easy. Living in Korea felt like being in a 1950’s England. And despite what was going on with the North, it felt generally quite safe to reside there. A lot of that felt due to the fact that Asian men didn’t seem inherently sexually interested in western women. And British men seemed far more interested in the Asian women. Although don’t get me wrong I did have a few flings/dates. But nothing that developed further than first base. This is important to know… for the rest of the story…

There were some fun times spent in Korea. Until I started to develop OCD. Also known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The pianist James Rhodes has most bravely written about the after effects of his childhood abuse in his book Instrumental: A Memoir of Madness, Medication and Music, which was blocked from publication by a temporary court injunction prompted by his former wife. She had claimed that publishing the book, in which James Rhodes discusses details of sexual abuse as a child, would psychologically harm their child. Tsk. 

For me. That book was like reading a tick list of the generic after effects of sexual abuse. 

OCD was one of them. And I could relate. Of course I didn’t read that book til many years later.. so I’ve yet again.. digressed. 

So there I was in Korea. On the other side of the freaking world. When I started to have intrusive thoughts. I started to panic about HIV infection. HIV infection or fear of contamination is actually one of the number one concerns of someone with OCD. My ‘father’.. my oh so lovely biological father – had told me as a child that I was going to die of HIV if I ever had sex with a man. I believe that that is where it all started. The fear had been imprinted into my mind at a young age. He would then show me a picture in the Encylopedia, of a female hymen that had been torn. 

“I will KNOW if you have had sex with someone!” he would whisper coldly staring at me. He would then go on to tell me that if a guy ever ‘fingered me’ (gross wording there) then he would probably scratch the whole inside of my vagina and I would bleed to death.

I do remember having a crush on my big brothers friend Michael. God. He was gorgeous. And, whenever he used to come round to visit, I would scramble up to my bedroom window and look out for him. My ‘father’ would appear at my bedroom door. 

“I know what you’re doing” he would insinuate. Warning me. Shaming me. Attempting to control me. I don’t know how he knew what I was always up to.

And so, like a ton of bricks PTSD and OCD came to haunt me whilst I was living in the deepest darkest depths of a foreign country. 

Fucking great. 

An old university friend at the time had invited me to visit in Hong Kong. 

“I think you have OCD Becks”.. she had written to me, listening to my panic over email. 

I had since moved to Busan which was on the southern tip of Korea. It was mainly an american expat scene, and I was far away from the more cosmopolitan Seoul. My new school was amazing. It’s interior was like a den of different Wendy houses. One room would be decorated like a hospital ward and another might be like a rainforest. Owned by a multi-millionaire who had had a ton of plastic surgery, she homed me in a dirty apartment on the other side of town. All night the windows shook from the wind and men glugged beers outside my window hocking and spitting as they drank (in some areas of Korea they spit a lot). 

That was the final straw. I woke up early the next morning. Packed my stuff. And snuck in to the school before anyone else arrived to retrieve my passport that I had given in. 

And off I flew to Hong Kong with the intention of travelling up to China to work. 

The first thing I did when I got to Hong Kong was have a HIV test. It was of course, clear. Because I hadn’t actually had sex with anyone. And of course, when you enter South Korea as a teacher you are tested for diseases, HIV being one of them. Not to mention I’d been in a trusting long term relationship before I jetted off. 

But logic does not come into a mental illness. 

Hong Kong was amazing. And I felt revived after spending some time with an old familiar friend. So I decided to travel on the 24 hour night train through China to Beijing. I absolutely loved this part of the journey. Watching people working in the fields as we passed through. It was a wonderful way to see the country. I was the only foreigner on the train, which I didn’t mind. I was designated the top bunk opposite a priest who spent the night with a pillow over his head (I suspected it was because he was sleeping opposite a woman). Sometimes I have found that the journey can quite often be more exciting than arriving at the destination. 

A man on the train to Beijing..

Going to China, whilst I’m grateful of having been was in hindsight (always in hindsight) a terrible idea. Beijing is pretty hard to navigate. And I was already on the verge of crashing. It didn’t matter how far I ran, I could not escape. 

Cue: my next sexual health check. 

On reflection it really wasn’t ‘normal’ to seek out another sexual health clinic (having just been to one in HK and being told I was fine). I was running out of money swiftly. But there I was. Number one tourist destination! The sexual health clinic! What absolute FUN! 

I entered the white walled building. Filled in a form. And had the tests. Swabs. Spatulas. The full works. Chinese doctor/nurses were scrambling about between my legs speaking not a word of English (makes sense. I was in China at this point). But I must of missed something. Because, when they gave me the bill, it was a small fortune that I didn’t have. And they wouldn’t give me the results until I paid it. 

Cue. They wouldn’t give me the results. Cue: heightened anxiety just made worse from having people poke about inside me in a foreign country. And I didn’t have the money. It was too much. A very stern doctor was speaking to me in very fast mandarin. Despite her hand gestures I still couldn’t gauge what she was trying to say. And so, I walked out of the building after being swabbed jabbed and prodded. None the wiser. And feeling a lot worse I crashed down on a step in the middle of Beijing alone. And cried. I cried and cried and cried. 

And a little voice in my head spoke to me.. (my voice).. ‘there’s something wrong with you Becks.. you need to go home’

I called my mother. Her partner at the time was in the background. We had an ok relationship. He was pretty controlling. You know the sort of guy that would prefer it if his partner didn’t have offspring. 

“Well she can’t come and stay here!” he bellowed. 

“Well fine! I don’t want to go and fucking stay there” I probably uttered in response. But to be honest. It would have been kind of fucking nice to have somewhere to go. 

So that was that, I booked a flight and flew out of China. Unfortunately at this point I didn’t entirely know where it was I was going to go. Luckily, someone I barely knew had seen I was leaving the East and returning to the West, and offered to let me stay. This was a saving grace due to the power of social media. Phew.  

I had at this point, literally, no money. However, what I did have was a case with Warwickshire council who was meant to look after me as a child but never actually did. I had requested my child file, before I had left England. I had been confused as to why I had had no support post trial. I understood that pre trial, a person isn’t allowed therapy. For it might affect the case.

But. I was promised therapy and support post trial when it came to the court case ending (he got a year of which he served six months – due to a plea bargain – but more on that another time) .. but of course. That never bloody happened. When I received my file from social services I was shocked. ‘Rachel won’t come downstairs today’.. was written by whomever was meant to be looking out for me but wasn’t. In fact, it called me Rachel throughout in various places. My name is Rebecca, in case anyone reading this has forgotten.

My social services file..

And so I had significant evidence of not being supported, as a child, who had to take her ‘father’ to court. The doctor had lost my referral for the therapy I was meant to have. And I was put on a waiting list. There were many pitfalls, but I won’t go into that now. The point is – at this point in time, I had a case on with the council – who were close to admitting fault. They had offered me a measly £1000 for the absolute terrible lack of care, that had resulted in my attempting to commit suicide, and being thrown out of the family home. 

Initially I had refused to accept this offer. But I was now, quite literally, penniless, and struggling. And needed money. Quick. And so I accepted the £1000. When I phoned to ask for the cheque, giving in to the power greater than I…  I was met with the rudest woman on the phone. As I cried. Her tone of voice was cold and cruel as she went through the specifics with me. 

I now know that what I was suffering from was severe anxiety. Searching for a way to cope and feel safe in a world where I didn’t. I must have been on my 100th visit to the STD clinic – where I loved to obviously spend most of my time. When a nurse checked my records. 

“We can’t test you today..” she said…. 

“What.. but why!?” I panicked.  

“Because you were here last month, and the month before that.. and the month before that..”… she replied. 

I could have been a sex worker that needed regular tests. But I didn’t think of pushing that line at the time. 

At this point I was living in a shared house, in Peckham. It was depressing. My anxiety was so bad – that I couldn’t even sit on a shared toilet. I couldn’t even sit on a shared toilet. And if I did have to use the toilet there was a lot of scrubbing involved. And so.. I would take a bucket to my room. And pee in the bucket because it was easier to do that than have to deal with the intrusive thoughts.

I actually feel quite tearful writing this. Because when I look back, I wonder how I got through and survived these times. 

“You are having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation” my doctor had said at the time.. 

And so I had a breakdown in the sexual health clinic. And the nurse marched me to the counselling room. And there I was given a psychosexual therapist.. and she was the most brilliant of therapists.. 

“We only have 12 weeks so we’re going to have to work pretty fast” she had said to me. It felt like she cared. She was strong. She was powerful. And she pushed me. 

“What are you feeling now?!” She would say. “Er Nothing. I would respond. She would push my buttons to rile me up. “NOW what are you feeling!?”. It kinda felt quite cruel. 

“Er. Nothing..” I would carry on. “Angry!?” she would offer up. Do you feel angry..!?! she would push. 

Finally I said it. “Yeah. I feel angry. I feel angry. And sad”.. I responded. 

She winked at me, smiling. It took me twelve weeks to identify a feeling. And… that was just the beginning…

I am sharing this story. Because I wonder if I had read about someone else’s experience at the time – then perhaps it would have helped me. At the time of my depression I missed (at the time) a good friends christening. I heard it on the grapevine a few years later that rumour had it ‘that I couldn’t be bothered to go’. We live in a culture that encourages people to put a brave face on rather than open up. ‘Get over it, move on, or let it go’ without actually offering any real solutions as to how to do that. It is important to ask ourselves, am I truly listening to this person. Or am I judging. Condemning or shutting somebody down. 

And if this helps one other person who is going through it right now.. you’re not alone. 

Phew. I’m the strongest person I know. 

But seriously. Could have done without all that shit really. And I could be embarrassed about all this. But seriously. What is the point. And how is that helpful? I am simply a human. Writing about my experience of being human.

Quite liking this tune by The Wombats.. Turn.

If you like this blog please like and share.. thanks!

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POEM: SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED

I am an STD, hidden beneath
Lurking in the unseen,
Shamed for being me
A virus permeating. If you catch me..

You’ll be dirty too, so stay away.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
About my negativity.

But it wasn’t my fault.
It was passed on to me.

I thought it was love.
Well that’s what he told me.

Sharing is caring.
That’s what he’d said to me.

Don’t you.. look at me with your judgmental eyes.

You see… you don’t see.

You don’t really see me.
You just see what you want to see.

Look deep, look down.
Oh yep! There’s the frown.
You look disappointed…
Don’t worry. You can’t be as disappointed as me.

The echo’s get louder.

‘You don’t love yourself’ says he.
‘That’s not true…’ says me.
‘You lied.
You took what you wanted.
You rolled the die.
You left me here.
Did you think I’d cry?’

He laughs. That laugh. Infectiously.

But this time.

I see.
It’s not too late.

‘Catch’ he throws…
‘No thanks’ I reply..

I walk away.

‘How ridiculous’.. I think.
Just then. I thought that STD was me.

Written by Becki Burrows

May 2018

©Copyright owned Rebecca Burrows 2007

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POEM: AUTHENTICITY

AUTHENTICITY


Who are you.
I look behind the mask you wear.
Your fake smile and your well cut hair.

I look into your eyes. And yet.. you stare. Blankly.

At me.

Who are you? I wonder.

Can I trust you? You in the trackie bottoms
And the scruffy hair.

And I think…
Are we really going to be defined by what we wear?

Prada, ADIDAS, Primark, CARHARTT
Stupid big names that have made their mark.
On you. On me.. on all of us here.

We wear these dumb labels with pride. And…

Yet I ponder. Who am I?

Stripped naked I see you stand and shiver.

Too masked in the pressure,
To stand up and stand tall.
Until one day.

The tears bleed out.. rolling down your cheeks like a waterfall.

I look.
And I see you.
Because it’s just like a mirror.

What was it all for?
Your eyes request an answer.
An answer.
An answer I do not have.
And so I shrug back.
‘Life is pain’ and that’s a fact.
Just don’t be afraid.
This too shall pass.

And he removes the mask.
‘Do you like what you see?’ he asks.

It really. It really doesn’t matter to me.

Smiling gently…the mirrored image
Disappears back into the glass.

And there I am.
Left with me.

 

Dedicated to all those I have met on my journey. To all those I haven’t met yet. And to those simply passing by. I wish you all well.. 

Written by Becki Burrows

Everything written on this website is copyright protected. 

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POEM: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY ‘LIFE ON PLANET EARTH’
I… have written a poem. For International Women’s Day… #internationalwomensday
 
LIFE ON PLANET EARTH: I AM A WOMAN
by Rebecca Burrows
 
The soft and safe space of my mothers womb
I sleep and grow.. comfortable in my warm cocoon.
No need to come out in to the world just yet.
Quite happy here thanks! Despite the fact it’s rather small and wet.
 
Trials and tribulations await. But I will not know this until I’m fully awake.
And as time ticks and I’m forced to come out..
My resistance kicks in and I scream and I shout.
 
The cold air strikes and hits my face.
Fear kicks in and tells me this could be a cruel place.
 
The days pass by…and I work hard as a good girl might.
Wash the dishes, be quiet, sit still and not shout.
Little girls do not scream, play with boys or go out.
 
Study more, eat less, play with dolls, wear a dress.
Only good girls do well.. those who curtsy to guests.
 
‘A mayde schuld be seen, but not herd.’
The old saying goes.
“So take that! And shut up!” the ole man moans.
 
But why?! The girl asks herself as she’s left in the house.
With a hoover,
The iron, and an ole dusty shelf.
“And don’t fuss!” he bellows as he takes the boys out.
 
“It’s not fair..” she whispers to the small little mouse
Before grabbing the broom and chasing it out…
 
Left behind. Clean the house! What’s the point of all this?
Scribbling in her diary which she hides behind the shelf.
 
“When I grow up…” she neatly writes down (in secret code – just in case it is found!)
“I will never marry a man like..hmmm” she scribbles with a frown.
And as the days pass by, and she grows up and moves on.
The marks on her body have taught her to just ‘bite her tongue’…
 
“You want equality? Well doors open no more!” the suited man laughs
As he goes on ahead slamming the door made of glass.
She wanders on behind with a shattered heart.
“Equal pay? Go away! And how dare you ask!.. Do you really think you’re as good as a man at the task?!”
 
“You tweeted #metoo.. er no job for you. Calling rape *all the time…let’s make THAT a crime!”
“It was simply a slight little pat on the arse!”
“But how do you know.. were you there..” she asks.
“Read the papers” the arrogant man laughs.
“Do you really think it’s that easy to pass…
Such a crime through CPS” her anger sparked…
“And what about not trusting everything we read where’s that gone!?” she starts to plead..
 
“Oh Sit down! Shut up! And chill the fuck out…stop complaining, stop moaning.
And stop making out… you’re so ‘hard done by’ just be a good little girl and help me out”
“Too skinny, too fat, too educated or too thick.”
“Too weak, too sensitive.. and you’ve not got a dick.”
 
“You’ll never win” the guy slyly laughs…
“But THEN… since equality’s in.. let’s pay halves”
He winks.
And she decides to do what society has taught her she should.
Keeps her mouth shut. Takes a slug of her drink. Just be appeasing. And just act ‘good’.
#internationalwomensday
I will leave this with the Aretha Franklin’s epic tune ‘Respect’
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REVIEW: “MIDDLE PICCADILLY RETREAT and SHAMANIC HEALING”

Words and photography by Becki Burrows

“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975….That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past…looking back now, I release I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years..” Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

It was that time. My stomach lurched. And a feeling of overwhelming sadness and doom came over me as I sat on the bus. I was fine when I left. What was wrong with me. I hadn’t expected to feel this way. I’d expected to be glad to leave. I was surprised that was not the reality. I woefully and yet hopefully, texted a few friends.

“Busy”..

“Sorry busy Becks..”…. “Far too busy..” another responded. I winced. Saturday evening and a twang of loneliness was starting to set in. Oh the love and hate relationship with oneself and the juxtaposition of the either joy or despair of isolation.

“It’s like.. I want to be alone… but… it’s like. In another way. I don’t..”

The bus passes Canterbury.. (the trains being delayed due to a leaf on the track..it’s always the little things!)…

*I could just get off here and stay in a hotel* I ponder to myself. It’s 5pm and I remember that everywhere else in the country shuts shop at 5.30. Not many options of what to do after that. *Nah I think. And I sit back and decide to just head home.

I had been staying at the Middle Piccadilly retreat, Dorset.

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Middle Piccadilly Retreat

And I hadn’t expected to feel this way. In fact I’d presumed the opposite. It was not as if I had been around people the whole time during my stay at Middle Piccadilly..a detox/shamanic healing retreat in Dorset. I had been excited to go. Of course! Yet also perhaps slightly cynical. With a bit of fear. Due to the thought of being on juice for two days without solids. I like to chew. And feel the different textures and taste of food. Don’t we all?

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Vegetarian Falafel, just one of the many dishes on offer at Middle Piccadilly.

I found some yoga retreats to be.. hmm not really about the yoga. Too many young fashionistas obsessed with their weight (and yours!) and trendy ‘overpriced’ yoga outfits rather than the actual practice or history of yoga. I’m not saying I’m not concerned about my weight but when one feels insecure..those places sure can be a rather intimidating environment when someone curls their lip slyly at ones figure. I remember when one of the retreaters – who was slightly plus sized came off the plane and greeted the rest of us. The yoga instructor whispered.. she doesn’t look like a yogi..”… to all the more.. ‘slighter looking ladies’. *F*ck that.

And then there was the bootcamp. I had been on a previous bootcamp – running around for 8 hours a day for 7 days. Admittedly I came out straight out and ate all the crap I had been trying to not consume in the first place. On my second visit to a diferent boot camp.. by day two,  and by push up 571 after a cracker for breakfast. I thought you know what. F*ck this. And made a sharp exit.

Extremism. Black and white. Which is exactly the sort of *thinking*  I am usually trying to escape from. All or nothing. Working out everyday. Or not at all. Working all day and night. Or procrastinating. For me the bootcamp way of doing things doesn’t really work. It’s like. It’s like… self f$cking punishment. Sure parts are fun. And yes I’m not a ‘dog’ and shouldn’t need a ‘reward’ at the end of the day. But all work and all work. Is not that rewarding. (I hate it when instructors use that line “You don’t need a reward you’re not a dog”… yeah yeah.. *rolls eyes*) and when one replies in a facetious manner.. “Well. Actually this guy once said..” doesn’t wash.

Then there was the yoga retreat that was meant to be all veggie health food, no meat or alcohol on site. Well let’s just say that went out of the window when a bottle of Vodka was discovered under the sink by one of the girls.. and well. Doing yoga with a hangover is not FUN.

So how about actually doing well. Nothing. And actually doing ‘nice’ things for oneself. Like having massages. And relaxing. Sitting around at home – can often not feel that relaxing especially when the incessant mind *I should be doing this* or *I  should be doing that* the haunting SHOULD SHOULD SHOULD’S that haunt our daily lives. Generally resulting in extremism or NOTHINGNESS. Well. I speak for myself.

And so I arrived at Middle Piccadilly and Eliana, 87 – who founded the establishment in 1986 with her husband greeted me cheerfully. I was astounded as she told me that she practices yoga everyday for 20 minutes and has done ever since she was 30. *And I never saw her once in Sweaty Betty yoga gear!*

“Try to not do any work while you’re here!” she smiled as she checked me in.

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Eliana – Middle Piccadilly founder and shaman.

On the first evening I meet a woman who has been there for several days. ‘Its so hard!’ She exclaims. It is a quiet time of year so there are not many people about. She starts talking about food. Fish and chips. And all things nice. I look at my juice. “Lets not talk about food” I urge.

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Lemon and Ginger Juice

DO NOT understand why why why go to a health retreat and then sit around mourning chips, kebabs, burgers and alcohol. It has happened at every retreat I have been to – and quite frankly my advice is – if you shut that one down straight off – your journey will be far easier. For it is simply fellow camaradie in self punishment. And futile in my opinion. Would you really go into a rehab and talk to a heroin addict or alcoholic about drugs or alcohol..

Oh hi- you’re trying to quit booze! Well.. do you miss wine? Beer.. heroin.. what about the fun and parties?! By the way I went to an amazing party at the weekend shame you missed out”.

I retreated to my room that evening…stomach slightly rumbling, armed with a few books ..’Fear’ by Thich Nhat Hahn and ‘The Body Keeps Score’ by Bessel Van Der Kock. The room, clean, comfortable and secure.

On the second day headed to the kitchen where my next juice was awaiting me. The woman I met the previous night is leaving. She is nursing her juice slowly. I take note of that and nurse mine too.

My first treatment is a therapeutic massage. By Claire one of the therapists. She takes me to a relaxation room and asks me about allergies and the scents that I prefer. I lie down. “Do you mind your stomach being massaged?” She asks.

Retreat

Manager Dominic, Claire and the cat.. name unknown..

“Erm. Well. I’ve never had my stomach massaged” I shrug, remembering  the time I went to a massage parlour in Korea and an old lady – wearing literally only her knickers started massaging my boobs after jumping up and down on my back. *Can’t be as weird as that experience* I think to myself.

Lunch and dinner are again juices. Yet, surprisingly I sleep well during the evening.

The next day, however, I awake feeling a bit depressed and lethargic. “Damn. I should of done more with myself yesterday!” I tell myself.

I go for my next juice. I am alone. But have shamanic healing at 10am. *Mmmmm juice*. I think to myself.

I am starting to get hungry now. The hardest part I am told. The first few days.

“With the Shamanic Healing just try and be open minded” Claire the massage therapist had urged me the day before.

I took that on board. On my first day Eliana had asked me about my health and all the generic questions one needs to ask someone. I had been surprised when she guessed my childhood past straight away.

With a caring nature paired with keen perception my instincts trusted her.

So I lay down on the table. And Eliana set her Shamanic tools out. She picked up a feather

“Calling to the winds of the west….!” she started.

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Eliana, Middle Retreat founder.

A part of me wanted to giggle. But I resist and decide to try and take it seriously. After all. What the hell do I know. I know that technology, materialism and disconnection has taken over the world.. and that most of the population are on anti depressants. Which can’t be normal.

So I feel happy to embrace and get back to a bit of earthy nature and universal connection.

She sits by me and asks me to close my eyes. And starts to talk about my childhood. My mind resists. *Eurgh I really don’t want to talk about that right now* I think. But then whatever helps, I’m keen to try.

“Always be curious….” A group therapist had said to me once ….”Always be curious when you don’t want to talk anymore”.. I remember I had probably rolled my eyes with a ‘oh whatever’ stance to what I considered psychobabble at the time.

But then. She could have been right.

“Ok” I persist. “What is the colour in your chest.. can you see it.” she asks. “Er. Erm Yes.” I reply with my eyes closed. “It’s er black…?”…

She relates this to a serpent from my past and asks me to pull it out and yell. I have my eyes closed and envisage this. I do as she instructs and I try to yell. But again. Feel silly.

“I feel stupid” I say to Eliana. “It’s ok” she urges..” So I yell. Admittedly not that loudly feeling embarrassed. “Louder!” she urges..

Whilst there is no one in the room with me I imagine my three brothers and most of my male friends in my mind guffawing and mocking me.

The “night sea journey” is the journey into the parts of ourselves that are split off, disavowed, unknown, unwanted, cast out, and exiled to the various subterranean worlds of consciousness… the goal of this journey is to reunite us with ourselves. Such a homecoming can be surprisingly painful, even brutal. In order to undertake it, we must first agree to exile nothingStephen Cope

I leave the room relaxed and thoughtful. My mind awake. As I had been asked to go back to my past. Something that has never and never will leave me. Although my desire to let go is strong. I aminterested by the perception in my mind post shamanic healing.

I go for my next juice. Starving and a bit grumpy, I steal an apple.

“I don’t believe in juice diets” I think to myself.. “plus how am I meant to go for a well you know! Need fibre don’t we..”…

Ahhh the beloved mind. Always very good at excuses. It can talk oneself into the silliest of things.

I eat the weetabix and apple.

And cue: guilt…….. “Tsk. You can’t even do two days!” my mind berates.

At dinnertime Dominic the founders son – and the person who now runs Middle Piccadilly is there juicing my next drink. We chat about several things.

“Well it’s not that bad if you do eat an apple or something it’s not like it ruins everything.. or is that much of a big deal” he says.. which seems a healthy way to look at things.

I start to wonder if he had counted the apples in the bowl and knew that I had eaten one that afternoon. I look for the hidden cameras.

“Erm. Yeah..” I shrug. ‘Guess not”.

And the next day! I am introduced to food! A delicious bowl of oats soaked overnight in water – resulting in a milky texture awaits me in the kitchen. I am surprisingly not that hungry but eat it thankfully.

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Overnight soaked oats

My next appointment is an holistic massage again with Claire and is more about getting in touch with the body. She talks about chakras and sensations within. We discuss disassociation.

Retreat

Raw Nut Burger with Avocado Mousse

For dinner Dominic makes me a cold ‘raw nut burger’  which is served cold with an avocado mousse and an abundance of salad. *Dominic is a genius* I thinkIt is delicious. And probably the best vegan/vegetarian food I have ever tasted..I am in awe of his cooking skills. “Really you made this recipe up? Really.. ” I go on. Irritatingly. The “burger” is followed by a deliciousness gluten free cheesecake made from cacoa beans.

 

Retreat

Cacao Cheesecake

I don’t feel deprived. Not like the punishment of a bootcamp where one works out all day and returns to a dinner of  half a cracker.

Retreat

Claire, Middle Piccadilly Retreat

And before I know it.. time is up. And on the last day I have a mud wrap and a good chat with Claire about life, relationships, being a woman in a mans world etc. I shower and smother myself in organic coconut body lotion. My body feels soft and relaxed.

Retreat

Claire preparing a mud wrap

Whilst I was only at the retreat for four nights and five days… I could easily have stayed longer. Having the freedom in the day to do what one pleases but having the structure of treatments and regular meal times incorporated kept boredom at bay. 

Whilst I don’t want to be a cliche,  I believe that this retreat was the first time I had experienced what the term ‘self love’ really means.

Being kind to the body. Not putting it under gruelling tasks for the sake of society (from over working out – to binge drinking). Taking time to just connect to oneself. Just being. Without ‘trying’ to just be. Nourishing the body and trying to eliminate stress in a healthy way.

And so.. you know how the story ends. On the bus.. feeling sad at having to say goodbye. But. On to the next adventure..

Middle Piccadilly is in a beautiful location in the English countryside, and has a homely community vibe without being overbearing. Eliana, Dominic and Claire are very likeable, friendly individuals. And it is as many reviewers have said online. “A home from home”... well they weren’t lying...

I highly recommend.

Retreat

Beautiful Rural Retreat in the Dorset countryside Telephone 01963 23468 Email relax@middlepiccadilly.com

www.shamanka.com – for the School of Women’s Shamanism

www.middlepiccadilly.com 

Follow Dominic and his tasty recipes at www.instagram.com/the_lifestylechef

A FEW OF THE ABOVE RECIPES CAN BE FOUND HERE

You can follow me at www.instagram.com/becki_burrows

Becki BXx

Words and photography by Becki Burrows

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