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Thread: The Belong Foundation.

  1. #1
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
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    The Belong Foundation.

    Over on the FB page I've been speaking to this seriously lovely guy called Shaun. I've been speaking to him for a few days, he's a follower on the FB page and has joined here. Everything that I can find has checked out and he does generally want to make things better and brighter for people. I'm going to post this on the FB page tomorrow, but wanted you to see it first. Genuinely a lovely offer restoring faith in kindness and love...


    Good morning from Spain, I think your page and forum are wonderful. Although no longer struggling with depression or anxiety myself, I do have a few decades worth of battling them...so I thought I'd reach out to see if we can help. My reason for writing is to see if we (my partner, Kuldeep, and I), can be of any help from down here in Andalusia where we’ve been living for over a decade now. Specifically, I’m talking about if you know of any groups who might benefit from having free use of our holiday home that we have right at the foot of La Sierra de Grazalema in El Bosque, an idyllic little town that’s still unmistakeably authentic Spain.

    Weekend rentals cover the mortgage thus enabling us to offer it for free to groups who might be able to get some enjoyment from it as it seems such a waste to have it unoccupied Sunday-Friday most weeks.

    https://belongfoundation.wordpress.com/

    Have a look at our home page as it gives our motivation for offering the house, and there’s a page showing the house, too. For more photos showing the beauty of the area we have an Instagram page, Dog Rescue Holidays, as we’re also involved in rescuing strays as part of another project.

    If you feel you might be able to take advantage of our offer please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best wishes,

    Shaun

  2. #2
    Wow that’s incredibly generous.

  3. #3
    Princess Sparkles Paula's Avatar
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    That’s a wonderful idea, Shaun!
    Come on everybody, join in the QUIZ, I need the competition!

  4. #4
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
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    It's amazing isn't it? So kind.

  5. #5
    Junior Member TiffanyyO's Avatar
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    WOW this is just amazing!!!
    "Always Smile, Even When It hurts"

  6. #6
    Hi everybody, I'm Shaun (under the name of one of my dogs), the guy offering this holiday. I appreciate that it might be a bit difficult to reach out to a complete stranger for a free holiday so I thought I'd share my own story in the hope of showing why I think kindness is important; to be there for each other and, you know, just generally be nice where possible. It's a bit of a read but kind of explains why I'm so motivated to offer something to folks who might derive some benefit. Cheers, everybody!
    Over the past few months I’ve been asked a few times about my own background and why I’ve been reaching out to charities and groups helping those afflicted with various social and psychological ills. So I thought I’d quickly knock together what has motivated me to offer these free holidays, in the form of my own biography.
    The first twelve years of my life were pretty feral. My mam was a boozer with several kids from several fathers and my dad was the least socially capable person I’ve ever known. Nowadays we’d say autistic and/or depressed; certainly some type of full-on emotional disorder. My cousins were all expelled from school by the age of 12 and to the best of my knowledge, nobody ever went to university after having attended my inner-city comprehensive. It just wasn’t a thing.
    Then my mam died unexpectedly when I was 12. One night my dad came in, announced the death and we never spoke about her again. No consolation, no arm round each other, no psychological or social support…we just buried her and then departed into our fractured worlds.
    My dad went on permanent night-shift (usually with over-time) which meant leaving me alone in the house from half past five every afternoon. In the aftermath of a bereavement of this magnitude I’d humbly venture to opine that leaving a little kid locked in a house (even with a lock freshly put on the bedroom door as in my case to give me a sense of security lol) is not optimal for his cognitive, emotional, spiritual or psychological development. I was terror-stricken at the loss and perhaps more damagingly, by the abyss that followed the death which unsurprisingly engulfed me entirely.
    My terror went through the roof and all predictability and perceived control of life disintegrated there and then. I was left with a 57 year-old autistic depressive who couldn’t muster much beyond “Poor, poor, poor me. Why was I even born?” or another one of his classic refrains “Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick of my life” I had to listen to these self-pitying lamentations emanating from the living room while I was locked in my bedroom. I’ve been reading some stuff lately about the statistical differences of words spoken in middle-class and working-class homes and I think on this scale I’ve got to qualify for the super-hyper-uber-lumpenprole championship of the world as these words would often be the only communication in our house for days on end.
    My father was an old, socially incapable man who had no ability to look after his family or even himself…so my child’s brain created order and stability on his behalf, in the only way it knew how; by praying to the omnipotent God who had shown His power by taking my mother (was it because I’d been out thieving and generally behaving like all undisciplined kids would in such an anarchic, chaotic world? Was I to blame?)
    I think my motivation was based on keeping my weak father safe and the more he was unharmed the more I saw my prayers as efficacious acts and the more the pathological cycle of praying continued. Anything resembling a perceived threat (maybe even a knock on the door as we had no callers ever, so an unexpected knock could be terrifying) was met with more prayers before I answered it and the absence of anything bad befalling him was evidence that my prayers were working so I redoubled my praying until it consumed my entire consciousness; a legitimate OCD.

  7. #7
    The praying expanded to fill every second of my existence; while talking I’d be continuing some mantra or incantation internally and this got progressively worse during the following couple of years. A process of self-abnegation was set in motion and it was a brutal time for a developing child. I felt such fear and guilt about everything that I started disavowing anything even vaguely positive in my life. It started off quite innocuously, when I wasn’t allowed to win a race at school, for example, because that was ungodly and arrogant. Then I wasn’t allowed to proffer an opinion because, you guessed it, that wasn’t humble. I’d incorporate all of these oaths into my prayers (remember in an empty house at night or with my suffering father sighing about the damned nature of existence itself, my unhinged mind ran amok) and the proscriptions just kept proliferating at a cancerous rate of growth.
    I soon couldn’t even open a book because that was something that would imply arrogance, and anyway all my former pleasures and interests had to be stripped out of my life. Then I couldn’t sit up straight because that was obnoxiously cocky, but I couldn’t slouch either because that was slovenly…I was inhabiting Dante’s inferno, constricting myself with every further thought as absolutely everything could be verboten on some spurious quasi-theological grounds and it wasn’t long before I was residing in Hell. My compulsive oaths lead me to having to stop speaking to other people, I couldn’t contribute anything to the external world as that would be standing out too much and therefore not humble, I wasn’t allowed a new shirt even though my old ones didn’t fit because that was vainglorious and on and on the oppressive oaths went…until I couldn’t breathe for fear of offending the punitive and omnipotent God who I hadn’t been able to shake off for even a nanosecond over the previous months and years.
    Surprise, surprise, my mental health spiralled out of control and I developed something so terrifying that I truly believed I was possessed by the Devil himself; a relentless internal Tourette’s that would not release me from sacrilegious and profane thoughts. There was no respite, ever. Going to school and the voice would be roaring. At home, alone in the evening, it would not relent. I thought I had the devil inside me and with nobody to enquire as to my well-being or even to talk to, I just plummeted into increasing darkness. I was terrified and the only way to keep some order on the collapse I was suffering (at the age of 12, remember) was to pray more and more intensely.
    Looking back now I see that I seemingly used my father as some form of archetype to be emulated. It was just damn bad luck that my dad was the antithesis of James Bond lol but seriously, I think it was precisely this fact that drove me to copy him knowing that it was an anti-human force, a rejection of all that is good and noble in life. On a profound level I knew that I was doing immense harm to myself but for some reason I felt I deserved it. What for, though? How did I end up believing that looking up at the world, shoulders back, smiling and laughing were heinous crimes? Why did I believe there to be virtue in eliminating all expressive and joyous parts of existence and myself?
    I could only take this for so long before a psychological breakdown happened and it was just before my fifteenth birthday when things came to a head. I had an instinctive sense that all this was deeply wrong: the prayers, the injunctions to not live fully, to not do anything that might contribute to leading a meaningful life or create serotonin or dopamine or any of the other essential elixirs of life. In short, all spark had been extinguished in my soul. I wiped away the anguished tears for one last prayer that forsook all previous iterations of “virtue” and embarked on a life devoid of the safety mechanism of OCD praying, into a socio-economic underclass world of long-term unemployment, housing benefit, depression, alcohol and reckless irresponsibility (I had some serious catching up to do, don’t forget and I wasn’t prepared to sacrifice this dissolute lifestyle for anything, even if I could miraculously develop a mature character instantaneously, which of course, I couldn’t). The next decade and a half had its ups and downs during which, through sheer good fortune, I met some people who were to prove messianic in my life with their message of family, community, work, contribution to society and all those other things I had missed out on as a younger man…and that ultimately lead me to where I am today as an old fella trying to pay some generosity of spirit forward in a world that’s often lacking such things.

  8. #8
    Boss Lady ;) Suzi's Avatar
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    Thanks Shaun

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