A Poem about Santa in ICU

‘Twas the night before Christmas; all through ICU

Not a patient was stirring, not even bed 2.

The propofol hung on the dripstand with care

With hopes that the day-shift soon would be there.

When outside the door there arose such a clatter

I sprang from the desk to see what was the matter.

I found my trainee with a porter and nurse

And moribund patient; I’ve rarely seen worse.

“Haemorrhage, hypoxia, resp effort was poor.

Tubed down in resus with sats through the floor.

Into deep coma with thiopentone,

But maybe too late – both his pupils are blown.”

“He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

Near a sleigh full of toys he was limp on the ground

With eight distraught reindeer just wand’ring around.”

As night turned to day we assembled a plan;

Was there aught we could do to assist this poor man?

Carbon monoxide from breathing in smoke

Had done nothing to help when he’d suffered this stroke.

His brainstem infarcted; we called in his wife

And told Mrs Claus of the end of his life.

She listened in silence, then spoke out at last:

“He’d want to help others now that he has passed.”

‘Twas the last hour of Christmas; and off down the hall

Goes Santa, deliv’ring his best gift of them all…


Credit: The Intensive Care Registrar https://m.facebook.com/icureg/

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Thank You

A couple of weeks ago I tweeted this https://twitter.com/shinybluedress/status/1056252070393712644?s=  

and then I came off social media & also retreated from everyone & everything apart from turning up for work. Some might consider my tweet to be “oversharing” or “needy” but the problem with me (both in real life and on social media)is that I have ‘smiling depression’.

I wear a confident and happy front to hide how I really feel & so the depression is tricky to spot. I have a good life on the surface and everything about my life seems normal. 

So for a while now Ive felt uncomfortable about presenting myself on social media as strong and together when in reality I’m a wreck and don’t know how to keep going. I was (and still am) in a dark place & I simply had to come clean and be honest about it. . .

I’m not at liberty to disclose what I’m dealing with but suffice to say it’s a situation that’s been going on for 2.5years and any hope of it improving is fading fast. The grief of it is exhausting and I cry myself to sleep most nights.

Anyway, this blog post is primarily to explain how completely overwhelmed I am by the amount of thoughtful supportive encouraging tweets, private messages, texts and voicemail messages I’ve received and I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone for this. The amount of notifications I got when I logged back in was akin to coming home after 2 weeks holiday and trying to push open the front door over a mountain of post (a common experience pre internet days!).

Someone even rang my work place to say they were worried about me – and as a result, senior management reached out to me in support. I also got a card in the post from a charity that I’m a member of.

In my dark place I gave no thought about the amount of concern my tweet would cause and I’m really sorry about that. Many of you are coping with situations far worse than mine and yet you still reached out with your support and I’m truly humbled by this. Your words give me strength to keep going.


An opportunity for survivors of child abuse to encourage others


A friend of mine, who is a survivor artist, is collecting brief messages of support to survivors of child abuse to make a visual monument celebrating their strength and letting them see the community of support that is out there. This will counter the feelings of isolation, shame and silence that can occur.

At a recent event in Bristol, people were invited to write on a blue ribbon a message of this sort. Reading what people had written had a huge impact on survivors and she is hoping to grow and develop this.

The idea is for people (whether survivors or not) to each write a simple, brief message to those who have or are experiencing abuse. This will be transferred onto a blue ribbon and the blue ribbons will be brought together to create a powerful impact. Some messages may also appear on a short film, as text.

To give you a feel of how long such a message could be, here are some from the event in Bristol:

I am a survivor too. i look like I’m doing well-a success .But today everything is a struggle.
A happy life is the best revenge-get to where you can be happy
Feel no shame-it never belonged to you

If you would like to contribute, it might be useful to think what you would say to a friend. If you have experienced abuse, it might be powerful to think about what you would like to say to yourself as a child, or what you might have needed to hear then or now…

If you would like to contribute feel free to email me or email Jeanie direct with your message: jeaniejones.unvarnished@gmail.comimage

A poem of thanks to my husband

IMG_0754You lived and breathed this with me,

you saw the pain and tears,

you were always there beside me

to help me through the fears.

Don’t know what I’d do without you,

You understood it all

No questioning the bad stuff,

just believing every word.

It meant everything to me

that you listened and you cared

you cared and you listened

then you heard it all again!

My love grows stronger for you, for the rock you have been for me,

you make me want to live to see this journey through, dont know where I’d be without you, love you x

Can Child Sexual Abuse and Child Sexual Exploitation really be uncoupled?



There is currently a consultation led by Government to redefine Child Sexual exploitation (CSE) – and they want it to be a subset to child abuse – thereby uncoupling  it by definition from Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

You can read more about the consultation (not too many pages, so fairly quickly) at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/statutory-definition-of-child-sexual-exploitation


Whilst I welcome the willingness to consider the need for a CSE definition – I’m not in favour of uncoupling it from CSA. The reasons for this is that some of the children/young people who have been victims of CSE have previously been a victim of familial child sexual abuse.

I consider, and work on the basis that, CSE is a form of CSA – and not separate.

I am NOT in favour of the present proposal and consider an that the following is more appropriate:

“Child sexual exploitation is a form of child SEXUAL abuse. It occurs where anyone under the age of 18 is persuaded, coerced or forced into sexual activity in exchange for, amongst other things, money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection or status. Consent is irrelevant, even where a child may believe they are voluntarily engaging in sexual activity with the person who is exploiting them. Child sexual exploitation does not always involve physical contact and may occur online.”

The background to this counter proposal – is that the exchange of money, drugs/alcohol, gifts, affection …….. is common within ALL forms of CSA – and not unique to CSE.

The majority of the women who access specialist rape and sexual abuse services have been sexually abused not only within their familial setting, but also by others outside of the home. In recent years I and others have been concerned at the lack of focus on the overall landscape of CSA, as government continues to focus on CSE. I feel that CSE is an important subset of CSA & not a separate category under the general heading of child abuse.  If the government choose to make it so – I fear they will continue to ignore the needs of the majority of children/teens who are currently or will be future victims of Child Sexual Abuse.

If you look at the definitions of CSA & CSE  the one thing that stands out for me is that the grooming process involving gifts attention and affection appears to be confined to CSE which is simply not the case

Child Sexual Exploitation via NSPCC

Child Sexual Abuse Definition via NSPCC

I would welcome your comments

New courses on child sexual abuse by Carolyn Spring

imageNew courses  avaliable this year – by @carolynspring

“It’s awful trauma – but the good news is that we can recover” http://pods-online.org.uk/index.php/training/our-training/csa-overview

“Child sexual abuse is when you’re powerless and betrayed, and you’re all alone and you mustn’t tell, and there’s confusion and pain and deep down inside there’s the fear that it’s all your own fault, that there’s something wrong with you, something terribly and toxically wrong with you, and there’s nowhere to go, and no one to run to, and no way to stop it because you’re small and weak and stupid and if only!!—if only!!—if only you had known, if you only you hadn’t been there, if only you hadn’t said what you’d said, or done what you’d done, or felt what you’d felt…That’s what child sexual abuse is.”

Child sexual abuse has been in the headlines constantly since the Jimmy Savile scandal broke in 2012. But why? Why is it such a big story? Why does it impact the victim so profoundly? What is the ‘transfer of responsibility’ in grooming? How many people are abused, by whom, and why? Is there hope for recovery?

Some people might say, ‘Oh, but I’ve been on child sexual abuse training before.’ We can guarantee that this training will be different! Carolyn will be covering rarely discussed subjects such as images of abuse (also known as ‘child pornography’) and the sexual abuse of children by females, as well as talking from her personal perspective both as a survivor of organised abuse and incest, and from her experience over 15 years as a foster carer.

This will be a hard-hitting, but hope-filled day and is suitable for a wide range of professionals working with survivors, in particular counsellors and psychotherapists, but also people working in adoption and fostering, Rape Crisis, social work, occupational health, education, police, prisons, lawyers and healthcare. Survivors are welcome but should be aware that there will be potentially triggering material throughout the day.” ( Carolyn Spring. Child Sexual Abuse Survivor)

This course is running as follows:

Child Sexual Abuse – Crawley
Saturday 24 September 2016
Child Sexual Abuse – Rotherham
Saturday 01 October 2016
Child Sexual Abuse – Darlington
Saturday 05 November 2016
Child Sexual Abuse – Bristol
Friday 02 December 2016
Child Sexual Abuse – Bristol
Saturday 03 December 2016
Child Sexual Abuse – London
Saturday 10 December 2016

Please forgive yourself for being a child and not acting as an adult.

imageTo all survivors of childhood sexual abuse:

Please forgive yourself for being a child and not acting as an adult.

Too often we look back at what we did (or more often, didn’t do) and cringe with shame.

That’s an adult judging a child for acting like a child.

We take our imperfect hindsight and put that knowledge into our child mind, ignoring the ignorance, the fear, the innocence, the lack of power, the shock, the pain, that existed at the time.

Be kind to your little self.

Be realistic.

Forgive yourself for not having perfect foreknowledge, for not having an adults altruism, for not being as strong willed, strong minded, strong bodied as an adult.