In life our influences are like batteries, there are positives and there are negatives. Some of us have more positive influences than others may have but nobody ever realises what these influences are until they sit down and think about it. Following the suggestion from a very good friend of mine I did just that, I sat down and thought about what my influences are. You know what? It is actually harder than I thought it would be!

I am going to share 3 positive influences with you. I shall also share 3 negative influences with you too. Those who know me personally know I have had quite a lot of negative influences in my life. However, I feel that my positive influences really do balance it all out.

So that I can end this article on a positive note I shall start with my three negative influences.

Food  As explained in a previous article I had bulimia at 8 years old. Consequently, along with Crohns Disease, I still have food issues. In times of stress and depression I turn to food for comfort and often have the ‘eyes bigger than my belly’ mode. It is daft really to do this as because when I am too full it can trigger off horrific Crohns pain. I also find that I have to eat a whole load of chocolate at once, and yes I know this is a common female trait but it isn’t as if the chocolate is going to grow legs to run off now is it? Maybe one day when my life is lot more settled, and there is a long way to go yet, I will no longer have the need to comfort eat? Who knows?

Health  As you, dear reader, already know I have a multitude of health conditions. These conditions mean that I am in constant chronic pain despite being on painkillers that are stronger than morphine! My health is that bad I am, according to my various specialists, unable to work. This is gutting, so to speak, because I would love to work and not have to rely on the government for financial support. The stress that comes with being on benefits, and keeping hold of this support, is phenomenally overwhelming particularly when there is some changes ahead here in the UK (US readers please feel free to google ‘welfare reform changes 2011 UK’). Another problem I face is that although I look ‘healthy’ people often do not realise that under my clothes and inside my body is riddled with diseases. I find myself having to cancel appointments or meetings with friends because I am being ill. Being unwell is actually incredibly negative an influence but hopefully one day in the not too distant future I will be able to work and get a healthy bank balance (ok something that pays more than what I need).

Mother  My close friends, and Twitter followers, will know my Mum is a great source of stress and anxiety. I love my mum dearly. However, her incessant (at worst 40) calling and texting is awful. It is like she is a stalker. I end up snapping at her, usually after something vitriolic about someone she knows or her moaning about working etc. She has extensive mental and physical health issues too which have meant I have ended up being her carer, and sometimes leading to me feel as if I am the mother in the equation. Say for example I dare to ask for help (financial) a huge deal is made out of it and it leads to a massive row either in a call or via text. She has also refused to listen to me when I talk about my mental health or even when I have tried to talk about when I was homeless. I would love to say at this point the situation will improve but sadly it will not, I shall just have to make sure I remain as a strong as I have become in recent years and not allow her to encroach upon my life like she has done in the past. I actually rely on my friends for some of the warmth that has been missing in the past 30 years!

So those are three of my negative influences. Of course within these negative influences there are some positives.

Food wise I am meticulous at observing strict guidelines on use by dates, or if I have opened something and it says use within three days I will stick to that. Okay this may seem a little OCD here but I really cannot risk getting food poisoning!

Health wise I am constantly monitored so if something new crops up then it is noticed very quickly and acted on as soon as is possible, always handy when you are prone to illnesses!

Mother wise I have become a lot stronger in recent years as mentioned so I am able to control when I answer the phone as opposed to before when I would answer every single call. Answering every single call resulted in me having more stress than was necessary. Also I would like to say thank God for being able to put my phone on silent and that I do not have a landline telephone!

Enough of the negatives, lets move on to the positive influences in my life shall we? I sure some of you who read this blog will be surprised at one of these influences so here goes.

Faith  I was bought up in a Roman Catholic family. I would attend Mass on a regular basis, at least twice a week in fact. I continued to attend church until my late teens when I decided to rebel and did not think going to Mass was cool. Plus, the Priest at the church I attended was not comfortable about my sexuality after my parents made him discuss the immorality of my lifestyle – actually it was my Mum’s request. I recently returned to the faith after the hiatus and found myself just going to be at peace with myself for an hour as opposed to attending for the religious side of things. Don’t get me wrong I have met some wonderful and inspiring people at my local church, but I normally attend when I need to feel that peacefulness. I also have been volunteering on the soup run that provides homeless or vulnerable housed people with some gorgeous soup (it looks divine it is just a shame I cannot try it) as well as befriending an elderly person or 2. I met my 21-year-old godchild at Mass, I was there earlier this year when she entered the Catholic faith and we see each other when we can. She also texts me everyday. It is a privilege to be part of this young woman’s life, even more so when you consider she had her first child at 14 and is now training as a nurse. One of the ladies I know from church here also ensured that I could get to the operation I had back in May this year as well as three other appointments I was struggling to get to.

Father  My dad is far from perfect and was away a lot when I was child due to his job in the Armed Forces, but, he is a very loving and caring father. He is also a very inspiring man, he has fought in wars and put up with my Mum (well until they split a few years ago) for many a year. Dad is non-judgmental and is a totally calming influence on me, very useful for a stresshead like myself. He has some wickedly funny quirks. One of these quirks is that he actually has to put reminders on both his phone and calendar to call both my sister and I! Through the divorce from my Mum he has remained the grown up and kept calm too. I wish I had been able to follow in my Dad’s footsteps and joined the Armed Forces to make him proud. I know that he is proud of me despite my many challenges, he tells me this every week in a text ending in I Love You as well as every call we have too. He makes me proud to be his daughter too by serving our Queen and country for over three decades.

Friends  In the past 30 years of my life I have been incredibly hurt by so-called ‘friends’ who liked to do nothing better than rip me apart as a person, I am lucky that to this day I have acquired some really amazing true friends. Friends who inspire me daily. Friends who I am there for when things are not too good for them or they are there for me when things are not too good for me. That is what friendship is about, it should never be one-sided. You should be able to rely on them as much as they rely on you. It is, actually, thanks to an amazing friend (you know who you are gorgeous) that I am writing this article. She gave me the idea last night and it has taken me until now to decide which influences to talk about. I know with M (my gorgeous friend hehe) she would, if I needed it, give her kidney to me for she is that kind of true friend. I love her to pieces! I am the kind of person who would actually take a bullet for a friend that shows themselves to be true. I love how one of my friends has stuck by me no matter what as well, she knows me and knows what mistakes I have made too but she is still there.

Right so there you have it, you have seen my three negative influences and my three positive influences.

What are your positive and negative influences? Please feel free to share them, even if it is just the one.

Thank you for reading, keep safe and take care dear reader. Each one of us is special to someone!