After 2 years of dodging Covid 19 it has finally caught up with me. I find it weird that after all 3 kids having had it on separate occasions while it was running rampant through the schools and being trapped in the house with them for days on end, I manage to catch it on the second to last day of the summer holidays after spending a week living in a tent, in a practically empty field with no one remotely nearby and then spending the following three days washing, unpacking, tidying away fifteen tons of camping stuff and only leaving the house to walk the dog in the woods. Go figure!
My biggest concern right now is the half full bottle of Prosecco I started drinking last night which is now sitting in the fridge. If I don’t finish it tonight it will go flat and be wasted, I hate the thought of wasting good Prosecco 😦 I don’t actually feel as bad as I expected I would, a bit achy and blugh but well enough to consider drinking the fizz….. it is made with grapes and grapes are good for you when you are ill, and alcohol kills germs does it not?
In an amazing stroke of unconscious preparedness for my bout of illness I bought myself a book online yesterday called ‘The foragers garden’ and Mark caved into my not so subtle hints and ordered me another three so I am well stocked with new reading matter for my confinement. Two of the books he got me are on gardening, specifically wildlife gardening / sustainable gardening and gardening in shady areas and the third is an interior design book called Scandi rustic – I fell in love with it in the gift shop at the lost gardens of Heligan when we went a few weeks ago, I am hoping it will inspire me to tidy up and make the house look nice.
I have loads I want to say, I have lots of ideas and motivation, I could sit here typing away for hours and am a tad frustrated about the Covid, because now I am feeling an overwhelming desire to get back into bed and go to sleep, which is annoying as I already had an afternoon nap and I definitely will be awake all night…. Although I suppose that gives me all night to empty my brain onto the page instead of laying in the dark letting my amygdala stress out, spew out embarrassing memories and ruminate over every regret I ever had in my entire life as it usually does when I can’t sleep. Until later then.
Summer holidays week 3 or 4?? I have lost all track of time passing lately, all I have been able to think about was the heat, it has been boiling! I love sunshine and blue skies as much as the next Brit but I couldn’t even have an afternoon cup of tea during the heat wave because the thought of consuming anything hot made me desperate enough throw myself in the garden pond – which is a bit weedy and full of Newts so not a great idea. I am so glad that I started my HRT earlier in the year because I swear if I’d had a hot flush during the last couple of weeks I would have burst into white hot flames and been reduced to a pile of ash in less than 5 seconds.
I am quite relieved to have a bit of normal summer weather now if only just to let my core temperature come down from molten lava. I don’t deal with extreme heat very well, someone once told me it was because I have low pressure but I have not googled it for fear of freaking myself out. It turns out that the antidepressants I am on also make me more prone to dehydration in heat because they make you sweat more…..Nice! Anyway the cooler weather means that I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and force the kids off their ipads to walk Keith before it gets too hot.
Although the woods are beautiful first thing in the morning so it was pretty wonderful once they all stopped moaning. Actually now I write this I think I miss those early walks. Dappled sunlight filtering through the lush green leaves and the small, winged creatures flitting about on their business appearing to glow as they drifted in and out of the patches of light, just how I imagined fairies would look when I was little. It was nice and cool under the trees by the stream, a welcome relief from the searing heat of the day. We spotted huge Dragon flies, a large Silver washed fritillary butterfly and even a Kingfisher on our morning excursions! It was worth getting up early for, even after a hot and uncomfortable sleepless night. Yeah I do miss the early morning walks.
I have a great app on my phone called Seek, it is really helpful in identifying plants, butterflies, spiders, fungi etc. It’s not always correct but 9 times out of 10 we get an I.D and I hoped that by using some tech the kids might show some interest, they haven’t though, they think I am annoying constantly trying to identify plants and creatures- I hasten to add here that I don’t think I would trust the app to identify mushrooms to eat! I once thought I fancied some fungi foraging, but after buying a whole heap of books on the subject and reading about the many horrific ways mushrooms can kill you I decided buying them from Sainsburys was safer.
The children are starting to gather now, the calls of their tummies forcing them to put down their ipads and seek me out for food. I too think I could manage a cup of tea and a crumpet before too much time passes. So I will say cheerio for now
I feel a bit disloyal for saying this, like I am somehow personally robbing the British of their summer but oh my life I am so glad for a break in the heat today! I have never been so pleased to walk in the drizzle. Finally I could take Keith out for a walk and a game of fetch the ball without raising his core temperature to that of a freshly baked Cornish pasty.
Keith has been reasonably well behaved lately, coming back when called and not launching himself at other dogs in his crazy over enthusiastic and energetic manner. I had started to find our morning walks pleasant and relaxing, chatting with other dog walkers and enjoying Keith’s pleasure at chasing his ball. I believed that perhaps he had calmed down a bit and my training was paying off. In short I had become complacent.
This morning Keith must have had a fresh dose of boy hormones or there was something in the air, or just the cooler temperatures made him happy, whatever it was he was a pain in the arse. Running off, licking other dogs willies, losing his ball repeatedly, doing a huge turd in the middle of the pavement outside school so everyone trying to come in had to wait and watch while I picked it up, then weeing all over his front legs because he couldn’t be bothered to stand still long enough to finish going – he was only washed and groomed yesterday! and for the grand finale he spotted a leggy little whippet across the park and was gone like a bat out hell after it, regardless of my screaming at him to come back.
I am not fond of drawing attention to myself, in fact I avoid it like the plague or covid so this morning I was not best pleased to find myself screaming KEITH! KEITH! KEITH! while sprinting manically across the park at full pelt with a bag of dog crap swinging violently in my hand as the little bugger totally ignored me and ran out of the park and down the road after someone else’s dog. I don’t think I have run that fast since the last sports day before I left school, I didn’t even know my legs could still do that. It’s going to hurt tomorrow.
To add insult to injury when the dogs were finally recovered and Keith was firmly back on the lead (FOREVER AND EVERRRRRR) I apologised profusely to the couple who’s dog it was Keith chased, then promptly shut my fingers in a particularly aggressive snap shut lid on a dog poo bin. It really, really hurt but I had to play it cool and slink away back to my van before throwing myself into my seat and swearing like a trooper through gritted teeth. Get a flipping dog they all say! dogs are brilliant! Still at least on a positive note my fingers are throbbing too much to do any housework 🙂
Once again I have left it way too long since my last blog and now it’s hard to know where to start. I have so much in my head and most of it is pretty positive. I am doing well controlling the negative thinking and apart from one mega meltdown over the ongoing saga of the trouser making I have been pretty stable and happy. Agatha and I even had a pre school disco in the kitchen yesterday dancing to Black Lace’s Agadoo on repeat until I nearly choked on my crumpet. Keith also got a bit over excited about all the dancing and tried humping my leg. Choking and humping aside the dancing and laughing was a great start to the day (for clarity Keith is a dog)
It’s been a lovely few weeks of sunshine here. Blue skies and sunshine every day as we count down to school holidays and chucks it down for 6 weeks. I have done all the washing in the house and stayed on top of it, I emptied the washing basket completely last week and collected all the dirty clothes the kids leave laying around in the corners of their rooms! I think it would be the proudest achievement of my adult life if it wasn’t for the fact that the clean washing is now gathering dust, piled in the corner of me and Marks room waiting to be put away.
I am doing a meditation before bed now which is wonderful. I have been finding it hard to fall asleep lately so I lay in bed and work through a relaxation technique from my self hypnosis book. That way I feel I am doing something helpful and I don’t start worrying about missing out on sleep and exacerbating the problem by overthinking it. I am starting to look forward to the floating feeling and I enjoy it immensely, especially last night as the super moon rose over Truro and I could see it from my bed.
I have recently downloaded an audio book called the artists way and over the last few days I have been listening to it as I do my chores or as I am driving. Its a 12 week course designed to unlock inner creativity. I have started the first task which is to do 3 pages of writing every morning. Whatever comes into my head goes onto the page. It’s only for myself so I don’t have to think about it. I enjoy it! It is usually a strange jumble of thoughts, ping ponging from subject to subject but letting them tumble out of my head is nice, like squeezing an annoying spot 🙂
I have also started to turn back to gardening, I still don’t like hurting the woodlice or other creatures so I have to work around them which is time consuming. But as the gardening is more for my own therapy than to achieve a perfect space time isn’t really a consideration. I am aiming to create a wildlife haven while still being able to grow a few things that I particularly love amongst it- Rhubarb, runner beans, raspberries, gooseberries and some herbs for cooking. Marks isn’t overly keen on a messy garden, actually he hates it, I love it though because it looks wild and I adore the Dandelions so we are going to have to compromise a bit. Luckily I have the moral high ground as looking after the wildlife is more important than tidy lawns and borders so he can’t really win this one.
On that note I need to go and do something constructive, it feels like I have been sat here too long.
It’s been an age since I last wrote, I have often thought about it but I just didn’t want to sit down and do it. You see it hasn’t been quite as good as I hoped when I signed off on my last post. That high didn’t last and the fall was harder because I knew how good it could be.
I am not sure exactly what happened, nothing particular stood out at the time. I had tonsillitis which probably contributed and I got a little obsessed with the Jonny and Amber trial which drew me back into the murky, angry world of social media and focusing on negative things – so actually I was wrong, looking back that stands out like a beacon doesn’t it? duh.
Anyway, when the crying started again I contacted the doctor like a sensible person rather than pretend I was OK and suffer until I totally fell apart. Well actually not quite straight away, old habits die hard. I struggled on for a few weeks telling myself it was a blip because I was ill. During that time, instead of doing something to help myself I binge watched the big defamation trial and soaked up all that awful testimony while eating packets of chilli Doritos instead of healthy meals so I guess not like a sensible person at all. At least I called the doctor eventually, I will give myself that little positive.
I am now getting myself back on track……. YET AGAIN!!!! I am currently sitting with recipe books all over the floor, planning a healthy menu to encourage myself to eat well again (well I was, I took a break to write this) I did some yoga this morning too which was nice and uplifting, apart from Agatha (youngest daughter – age 6- home on an inset day) bursting into tears because she wanted to do yoga with me but couldn’t find her pink crop top to wear, nothing else would do apparently.
I have even taken positive steps to sort out my sewing issues. The ongoing saga of making a pair of trousers that fit has contributed massively to my low mood. My disproportionally shaped arse and inability to get trousers to fit around it has stirred up a lot of old body issues for me and have shed more than a few tears over it recently. I actually asked for help in a lovely local sewing group after a particularly savage bout of self critism and am currently in touch with a very knowledgeable chap who is talking me through the difference between standard figures and non standard figures and drafting patterns to address body differences, he believes there is always a way so perhaps there really is.
Right, I need to get on, time to take the kids and dog to the park while the sun is shining because this little face is staring at me!
Although my last blog was published on the 22nd April it was written way back on the 18th March and I just couldn’t quite bring myself to post it for a couple of reasons. The first reason; admitting that I had turned to antidepressants to make myself feel better made me feel like a failure. I have mentioned many times before that I am my own worst critic, admitting defeat and asking for help was powerful ammunition for that nasty inner voice. The second reason; I felt ashamed and embarrassed, I didn’t want people to think of me as mentally ill. Yes I know I am writing a blog about it so it’s not exactly a secret 🙂 but the physical act of accepting the antidepressants (even though I happily accepted the HRT) meant admitting to myself it was a bigger problem than I could handle and that rankled. After all, I had invested an enormous amount of energy into putting on a brave face and pretending to be ‘normal’ and for what? to fail.
Any way, there is good news. During the time I have been away from the keyboard I have undergone a profound change in both mind and body thanks to the combination of the HRT and the antidepressants. I don’t think of taking antidepressants it as a fail anymore, far from it! I feel like a small miracle has taken place! I have energy again, Woohoo! And a measure of inner peace, literally because my internal voice has shut the F**k up and it has been blissful. I often just stop in my tracks to notice the silence and smile because I am so grateful. I used to have the radio, TV or audiobooks on all the time to distract myself – I needed constant external noise to drown out the negative and overly critical thinking. Now I just love silence or I listen to myself breath in and out, the birds singing, the shower dripping, the hum of the hard drive, whatever little noises there are happening around me. Yeah I am feeling the love, woowoo- peace out man. Maybe I have too much oestrogen now? ha ha ha ha ha ha
It is so strange that some days I just have no idea how to start writing, my mind is full of thoughts and words but they aren’t lining up at all. That is not to say that I am a jumbled mess, far from it, right now I feel quite calm and present, unusually so I admit reluctantly. I feel loathe to commit those words to paper in case I tempt fate once again but I am feeling brave so I will leave them undeleted.
After my last blog I went back to the doctor regarding my fatigue and because I had googled some symptoms which led me to (half) believe I was seriously ill. I did apologise to him for the googling, as by the time I was sitting there in front of him I felt rather stupid and every bit the hysterical menopausal woman he probably thought I was. However, he did refer me for some blood tests just to check there was no underlying cause and to put my mind at rest. I await the results.
While I was there I asked him to prescribe some anti depressants. I have been offered these repeatedly in the past but always refused as I disliked the idea of relying on medication to feel normal. I felt like I should be able to feel better naturally and that this should be within my personal control not inside a box of medication. Although these last few months have shown me that this wasn’t working as well I had hoped.
The awful thoughts and feelings I have experienced recently convinced me that it was time to ask for help. It was becoming too hard to pretend everything was OK and I was worried about the impact on my family if I didn’t do something to stop the downward spiral. I am still on a waiting list for CBT and I get a text every now and then telling me they are sorry I am waiting, they are short of staff etc etc but I needed something a little less out of reach and a little more immediate.
It’s probably a little early to expect results but just the act of accepting the tablets and taking them with a positive attitude has already lifted my spirits. The fact that we have had a week of good weather has also been a huge boost so maybe fate was on my side a bit for this one. I am quietly hopeful that perhaps this could be a turning point for me, it is certainly quieter in my head and right now I feel quite peaceful and relaxed. Here’s hoping it continues.
I am sitting in a sort of stunned silence in the lounge, laptop on lap, cup of tea on the table next to me and the dog at my feet. I have spent pretty much every spare hour of every day for the last 6 days making a world book day costume for my eldest daughter and now I feel a bit lost. Why buy a costume from Amazon for £20 when you can make it with £150 worth of craft supplies and 800 hours of your life? Never again! That sort of sewing is not good for someone with a particularly nasty inner critic, I would have fared better had I been micromanaged by a foul mouthed harpy with verbal diarrhoea and a penchant for torture. But even after all the blood, sweat and tears I am going to force myself to acknowledge that in the end the top hat with rabbit ears I made turned out pretty good and I am feeling rather proud of it. All it has to do now is survive a whole day at school.
I am now faced with the aftermath of neglecting the tidying up in favour of cloistering myself in the workshop. The lounge is a tip too but that’s nothing compared to the wreckage of my sewing room, hence why I am writing this on the laptop in the lounge and not on my computer in the workshop. I literally can’t bear to look at the mess. I need a serious input of energy to tackle this house, an input I have been waiting for, for 2 months now to no avail. I am wondering whether it might be easier just to pay someone to empty the whole place into a skip? Probably a bit too drastic. I have never been a ‘tidy’ person but this is depressing even me. I keep looking at the Marie Kondo book and wondering if there really is some life changing magic to tidying up?
Once again I have stepped up my efforts to control my thinking. I can’t keep letting my crazy brain control my thoughts. I have been reading a book on NLP which is interesting and read something recently that really made me think wow, although the brain fog I am experiencing means that right now as I sit here and go to write it down I can’t for the life of me remember what it was! Frustrating! it reminds me of a meme I saw a while ago, it went like this – ‘I have learned two things in life, I forget the first but the second is that I must write things down’ It sums up my current life perfectly – amazing how I can remember the meme and not the really interesting bit of educational information. Something must be working though because when I come to a point of freaking out, a little voice whispers in my head ‘right now, you have a choice’ that small sentence breaks momentum and stops the negative thinking long enough for me take control. Any sort of progress is good I suppose, even if I can’t remember why its happening.
I haven’t written for a while because I just haven’t felt like it. The exhaustion still lingers, sucking the life out of me and draining me of what little motivation I had left. I feel despondent and depressed. I had hoped that the HRT might have made some sort of improvement by now but so far there is nothing. Everything seems bleak, both out there in the real world full of people and inside my head. Normally by now I would be longing for the spring, it’s warmth and vibrancy but I feel nothing, it’s like I am trapped in a limbo waiting for a recovery that I am starting to doubt will come.
My confidence is at an all time low, my self esteem is shot to pieces and I just feel like giving up. I am actually finding myself getting anxious about school pick ups now because I just can’t face people. I hate standing in the playground amongst so many people yet feeling so alone. I try to keep my head down and avoid everyone but then I worry that people will think I am really rude. On the occasion someone talks to me I feel compelled to smile and try to act normally (or normally for me) but it’s exhausting, I have no idea what to say. I just wish no one could see me at all.
I tried to jolly myself along by doing some sewing, creativity having previously been good for my low moods but this time it has had the opposite effect. I am so sick of trying again and again to make the adjustment that will make the bloody pair of trousers I have been trying to make fit me, I just want to scream with frustration. In fact I did scream with frustration the other day and then I felt guilty because the poor dog nearly had an apoplexy and Mark assumed I finally gone entirely mad. I am starting to hate sewing as much as I now hate gardening. Only photography to ruin now and I will have no hobbies left to interest me at all.
The worst thing about all this is the feeling I am wasting a life which is so privileged. Thanks to Mark I have been able to stay home full time for the children and now for Keith the Cockerpoo too, we don’t have lots of money but we have enough, we have a wonderful life, we have each other and a lovely home which is looking more and more smart all the time with the decorating we have been doing. I am a very lucky woman and I feel like I have no right to feel this way and that only seems to make it worse.
I am being followed! All the time! literally everywhere I go he is there, the kitchen, the lounge, even the flipping bathroom! I take a step, turn around and there he is with those gorgeous, brown puppy eyes staring up at me, Keith the Cockerpoo. It’s very cute but also quite irritating and a possible health and safety risk, I have tripped over him numerous times already. I have never had a dog that is so alike to being a shadow that it is hard to tell the difference. This morning he followed me so closely down the stairs that he walked onto my trailing dressing gown and we were both stuck. I couldn’t move or I would pull his legs out from under him, he wouldn’t move until I moved and I couldn’t move because he was pinning me to the stairs. Stalemate. I thought the biggest challenge to getting the kids ready for school was the actual kids, but nope I was wrong, it’s being held captive by a puppy.
At the end of last week I was so fed up with the exhaustion I was experiencing that I went to the doctors. Usually these bouts of extreme lethargy only last a couple of days but this one is being way more persistent, I still don’t feel it has left me entirely. I saw one of the lady doctors, although she had a medical student working with her who saw me first and asked if I would be happy to speak to her before the Doctor joined us, that threw me a bit. Obviously I wasn’t happy about it but because of my crippling, ingrained need to people please I agreed and told her about my exhaustion and how it was affecting me. I hate doing this sort of thing because then I had to sit and listen while the student told the doctor what I had said…. or a version of it. ‘She’s a bit tired’ she said, which wasn’t exactly how I described 5 days of utter exhaustion and despair.
Anyway the doctor was lovely and we discussed my symptoms, we talked about my mother and Grandmother and the age at which they experienced menopausal symptoms, which was younger than ‘normal’. The doctor asked me how I old I was and after some counting on fingers I worked it out. “That’s not that young is it?” she said to me, I blinked and stared at her “No I suppose not” I mumbled, feeling a tad deflated and thinking OMG I AM NOW OFFICIALLY OLD! (My husband laughed his head off when I told him she said that) The outcome was that I was offered HRT which surprised me, I never expected that and I have to admit that I always assumed HRT wasn’t for me, I don’t really like taking medication regularly and I hate the thought of being reliant on it. But something made me agree that day, perhaps it was knowing that I couldn’t carry on with the horrendous mood swings, forgetfulness and feeling so drained I couldn’t do any of the things I wanted to do. I think I would give anything a try if it had the potential to make me feel ‘normal’ again.
Lately I have spoken to a few friends who have told me they are using HRT and my opinion on it had started to shift a lot before the Doctor offered it to me. I watched the Davina McCall documentary ‘Sex, Myths and the Menopause’ a while ago when it dawned on me that I was myself at ‘that sort of age’ and perhaps that was contributing to me losing my mind. It is an interesting watch and was definitely in my mind when I accepted the HRT. I came away from the doctors with a day to wait for my prescription to be ready and with that time I devoured all the information about menopause and HRT I could I find. By the time I held that little patch of hope in my hand on Saturday, I felt I knew everything I needed to know and although I still felt a little bit trepidatious about being so reliant on medication I stuck that patch on my thigh and hoped for the best, now I wait.