Articles By Polly


A Stronger Sense of Self

Published in Adoption Today Magazine December 2018 issue

When I had you, I had no one to turn to and then I had to work, and it was so hard to find anyone to take care of you. I gave you up, so you would have a happy life with a mother and a father, but I dreamed, loved and prayed for you all these years." These words were part of a letter to me from my biological mother after I finally traced her when I was 37. In the past, an adoption order was final. All contact [...]


Learning the French Language

Published in French Property Magazine June 2015 issue

Languages intrigue me with their similarities and differences as well as what they tell you about other cultures. I thoroughly enjoy trying to converse with people in their own tongues; I can get by in German and speak a smattering of Italian. However, French remains my first love. I learned French at school but let it lapse until, aged 23, I took up a post as nanny to a wealthy Parisian family who wanted their two [...]


A Therapeutic Approach

Published in Better Mental Health Magazine January 2015 issue

'I'm Terry, the occupational therapist. Would you like to come to the art room with me?' Her calm tone was soothing but I was in no mood to respond positively. My abusive childhood had finally caught up with me when bullying at work resulted in a complete emotional breakdown. 'I'm no good at art,' I told her bluntly. My self-esteem was at rock bottom. 'You don't have to be,' she encouraged gently. 'Just give it a [...]


An Impulsive Purchase

Published in French Property News May 2014 issue

I fell in love with French culture aged twenty-one as a nanny in Paris, never dreaming that one day I would return to buy an apartment. Fast forward forty years. My husband Dennis and I had taken early retirement from teaching. Our daughter Nikki, infected with my enthusiasm for everything French, had decided to make her life in Paris, despite being a struggling actress relying on the goodwill of others for a place [...]


Talking About Panic Attacks

Published on on 13/02/2014

I was keen to participate in Mind's project as I want to help to dispel the stigma attached to having, or even speaking out about, Mental Health issues. However, on the way to the cafe where filming took place, I began to experience the intensely painful physical and mental symptoms which accompany the crippling anxiety that I have suffered from for as long as I can remember. 'What if I couldn't find the location [...]


A View From A Queue

Published in French Property News December 2013 issue

During the ten years we've owned our thirty-square-metre 'bolthole' on the edge of Paris, we've been able to observe the French lifestyle and compare and contrast it with the British way of life. There are some very noticeable differences, such as the French 'kissing greeting', whilst others are more subtle, becoming obvious only after repeated exposure. The French attitude towards queuing falls into this latter [...]


Looking Back In Sadness


Alzheimer's disease slowly, relentlessly and cruelly destroyed my father's brain. "Are you all right daddy?" He slumps forward, his head resting on his hand, sighs then mutters quietly to himself as I place what I hope is a comforting arm around those broad shoulders that once lifted me high above the crowds to watch the Lord Mayor's procession. Slowly he raises his head to stare directly at my face without seeing me [...]


...And This Is My Adopted Daughter Polly

Published in Adoption Today December 2013 issue

Anyone who completes the lengthy, involved and demanding process of adoption does so with a desire to meet a child's needs through loving nurturing. But whilst the basic requirements for food, shelter, safety, protection and emotional stimulation seem obvious, it's not always easy to know how to fulfil them. The adopted child is not a blank slate and may have already suffered some damaging ordeals before reaching [...]


The Stigma Of Diagnosis

Published in Mental Health Practice November 2013 issue

It is clear, on reflection, that I was seriously disturbed from a young age. During the numerous fosterings in my first year of life, by all accounts, I was at best neglected and at worst abused. I was finally adopted by a couple whose own daughter was three years older than me. My adoptive mother liked babies and coped well with the new disturbed addition to the family (I apparently screamed every time I was [...]


Conditioned Guilt

Published in The Catholic Herald on 6th October 2013

With World Mental Health Day imminent (October 10th), I would like to highlight the potentially damaging psychological effects of chance remarks made by the people in our lives whom we most trust and respect. As a child growing up in the sixties, the comforting routine of Sunday Mass and Benediction and the clear-cut rules of Catholicism provided a sharp and steadying contrast to the personal abuse to which I [...]


The Stigma Of Mental Illness

Published on on 16th August 2013

About ten years ago I was told I had Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Although I dislike labels, I hoped that this diagnosis would get me the appropriate help I so desperately needed. A part of me so wanted to stop the suicide attempts which had almost put an end to my life, learn to accept (perhaps even to like) myself and get on better with others. For so long I had been regarded by the medical [...]


A Tiny Bit Of Paradise

Published in French Property news in July 2013

It's a crisp, sunny morning in early spring. I jump out of bed (something I never do in England), put my track suit over my pyjamas, don a jacket and pop across the road to the patisserie. My mouth is already watering with the delicious smell of freshly-baked 'goodies' wafting towards me. Remembering to begin with "Bonjour" - etiquette is extremely important in France - I ask the baker for a very [...]