July 28, 2017

When the darkness wins.

Posted in July tagged , , at 4:14 pm by viewfromthisdesk

This blog post has been three days in the writing.  And I’m still unsure if I’ll press ‘publish’.  So if I do, please know that as tough as this may be to read (and I am fully aware that I may be imagining the strength of my writing skills there) this has been a million times tougher to type and be fully honest.

Recently there’s been celebrity suicides and people react with ‘but they had it all; fame, money, family, why would they need to do that?’ and it’s sad.  These people may have had what we perceive to ‘be it all’ but it wasn’t enough to make them feel worthwhile.  The glass facade shattered and let’s face it, reality sucks.

Someone (a total stranger) wrote something on a social media site last week about their suicide attempt.  To try and explain that they weren’t a coward, that they weren’t looking for an easy way out because in the moment that they were trying to cut their wrists (and it wasn’t that simple, their description was awful and raw and real) it was the strongest they had ever been.  That it hurt and it wasn’t quick but it was just the last thing they had control over.  It was a powerful piece of writing and it’s stuck with me.

I’ve never tried to kill myself.  I’ll put that out there now.  But I have often felt that it would be easier to just not be alive.  I personally feel there’s a big difference between wanting to die and wanting to not be alive but you may feel they’re the same thing.

All my life I’ve lived with not being good enough.  My Dad would punish me physically when school reports came home and it wasn’t all A’s.  Apparently A for effort doesn’t count because even though the teacher felt I’d tried my hardest in everything, if I hadn’t gotten top marks, it didn’t count.  When we moved up here, I was told by the people we lived with that anything less that straight A’s or A*’s was letting my parents down, that I’d failed them.  On GCSE results day when other friends were getting money or meals out, I was asked why I’d only gotten 2 A’s and then 8 B’s.

It wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t good enough.  I was a blue screen error message.

On school awards night, I asked if they were proud of me.  The reply was that they’d rather I was at home studying to get better marks than collecting awards.  They went on holiday rather than support me during my A Level exams.  They didn’t take me to university like every other family in my place of residence.  They charged me £60 rent when I returned for a week the first Christmas. And then my worst offence – I dropped out of university: I was a failure, a disappointment, an embarrassment.  And although I got my degree with the OU, that didn’t count.  It wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t enough.

I’ve never been enough.  I’ve never made anyone proud.  Or at least, no one has ever told me.

At a family wedding a few years ago, the father of the bride gave a speech about brave men marrying into the family.  My Dad was not included in that speech, nor my husband.  I took that personally because if they don’t count, then I don’t either; a reminder of how I’m not enough.  I’m sure he didn’t mean it to be like that and it’s not as if I could have interrupted the speech and asked about it.  A wedding is not the place to question details.  And I can’t ask now because the moment has passed.  But it sits in my brain, a sharp stick poking away.

At school I didn’t fit in because I spoke funny / because I didn’t have divorced parents / because I wasn’t allowed to go out after school / at the weekend / use the phone / go to my end of year ball / get a job / came from a different school to begin with.  At uni I didn’t fit in because I had no family visiting me to take me shopping for food / help me settle in / because I’d worked damn hard for the financial scholarships that kept me afloat / was using uni as an escape.

Society views me as a failure.  The abuse I’ve received because I’ve not had kids is truly awful.  I’m a waste of a human being, a waste of air, what is the point of being alive if not to push out children?  No one will love me because I’m selfish, I’m not fulfilling my biological purpose.  And these are your everyday human beings, not religious fanatics who want to populate the world for a higher purpose.  I can ignore all this stuff because it’s utter drivel but it does get to you.

Historically the whole ‘when is he going to propose’ bombardment at events really niggled into my brain.  Really upset me and made me think that I wasn’t enough for him to love me that much.  I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t acceptable to his long term plans.  And then when we did get married it was that pitying ‘Oh, but you had to ask, not the same really, is it?’

When I work away, I’m ‘not the usual girl’ or I get ‘what are you doing here’ or ‘oh, it’s you’.  I’m not included in conversations, I’m ignored and treated less than politely.  I’m working my socks off to help them out but I feel like something those socks trod in.  There’s no support or gratitude, I may as well be painted the same grey as the walls.

I’ve felt ignored and left out and simply not enough and pushed to one side all my life.  Intentional or not, my feelings are mine and no one can tell me they aren’t real.

And so, thinking that my not being alive is somehow better, is not surprising.  If I can’t be enough then what’s the point?  If I’m not enough, then someone else could be instead.  I don’t feel worthy.  I don’t feel worthwhile.  I am an appallingly bad wife, terrible sister/rubbish friend/disappointing niece/absent cousin.  The doctors just gave me anti-depressants when I spoke up.  They don’t change anything, it’s not going to re-program the last thirty-odd years.  Counselling was tried at uni.  I can’t afford it now and I dislike speaking these words out loud.  Hiding behind this keyboard is as honest as I can be.  Don’t ask me if I want to talk, I will tell you I’m fine.  I can pretend I don’t know who is reading this, that you are not real.  That I am typing to empty my brain temporarily and these words will fade like I was writing in lemon juice.

The darkness that lingers in my brain never goes away.  I do try and ignore it but I’m only human, I’m still struggling.  The other week it got particularly bad.  I didn’t want to leave the house, didn’t want to see people, not even people I’ve known forever.  I didn’t want to have to talk to anyone or look at anyone – or even worse be looked at – or interact.  If Pirate Cat were still here, we would have set up the duvet palace and she would have been on Chief Cat Guard.  It’s never gotten that bad before and with hindsight, I’m concerned with how much that darkness overwhelmed me.  I’ve never shut myself away like that previously.  And yet, it happened and I fully expect it to happen again.  I’m not scared of it happening again, it’s not an issue for me but it’s a new thing to contend with.

Suicide for me is not an option for purely practical reasons; I dislike swallowing pills even though I’ve taken enough over the years.  I dislike pain even though there’s a constant white noise of it.  I couldn’t jump off or in front of.  I wouldn’t be so selfish as to have that memory imprinted on someone else for the rest of their lives.  I could not do the deed.  The darkness may overwhelm me but it’s not going to push me over the edge.

Suicide is a decision of absolutes.  There is nothing else after.  And it may be the one thing that a person has control of when the rest of their life is a whirlwind of madness.  And it’s going to be that they feel that their family, their children, their friends are better off without them.  I’ve felt that.  I’ve absolutely felt that very way.  No one would miss me as I don’t contribute anything to their lives – what can I give people the state I’m in?  Apparently, my illness is not real, I’m attention seeking, I’m making it up.

Please don’t think this is a new surprise thing – I have been honest about how I feel.  I’ve told hubby on many occasions that I’d rather not wake up one morning because I feel worthless.  I feel more of a burden that a contribution.  This isn’t something I’ve hidden from him.  I’ve told him he needs more than I can give.  And yes, he’s told me I’m daft and I shouldn’t think like that but my brain doesn’t hang onto that fact, it focuses on how crap I am, how I can’t have a proper job, how my friends and family don’t invite me to stuff because I won’t be able to go anyway.  How all this medical stuff has made me different and useless.  In the early hours when I’m not sleeping my brain goes utterly mental shouting horrible things and I listen and I save them on a loop reminding me over and over again that I am pointless.  A waste of air and cells.

I don’t know anyone who has committed suicide.  As far as I am aware, I don’t know anyone who has tried either.  Maybe I do but they keep it so well hidden.  They are stronger than I know.

Growing up I was told that suicide is the cowards way out when someone doesn’t want to face up to their problems.  Suicide is not an easy way out.  It cannot be.  You make that decision knowing the absolute tidal wave of reaction that will be triggered.  You know that those around you will be hurt beyond all comprehension but you feel that the hurt will be better than the reality.  You’ll change their lives forever but you honestly think that’s the best thing for them.  You make the decision and you follow that through.

So I understand what the writer meant when they said that in the act, they were the strongest they had ever been.

 

I am not strong.

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July 25, 2017

One Million Lovely Letters

Posted in July tagged , , , , , at 10:22 am by viewfromthisdesk

I had planned to write a post about suicide, which is nice and cheery but then that all changed last night.  As ever, I’m referring to something I saw on tv which got me thinking.  And crying and laughing.  If you didn’t watch it, find it on iplayer.

Last night on BBC1 at 7.30 was a program about a lass called Jodi who started writing letters to total strangers.  She has a target to write ‘One Million Lovely Letters’ and some of the people featured talked about how her letter had arrived at a really difficult time and had gotten them through.  One guy was from Canada and had fixed her letter to his computer so it was a daily reminder.  Letters, words, ink on paper are powerful things.

I used to love writing – my teenage years were full of writing to friends and boyfriends.  The angst of those years would pour out as my inky scrawl would fill pages and pages.  I’d look for colourful envelopes and nice paper.  I’d save any money I had for stamps which were much cheaper back then.  I’d feel full of love and excitement when I had an envelope for me when I got home from school.  That someone had taken the time to sit and write to me, take that time to think about me and want to connect with me, that was magical.

I still have notes from people from when I was 14, I’ve kept them and I re-read them.  My gratitude jar was amazing for the couple of years that it worked.  But it’s not been contributed to for a while.  Maybe I haven’t done anything with anyone worth writing about?  But that was amazing, tipping that out on New Years Day, seeing what people had scribbled on the back of a cinema ticket or shopping receipt.  Because it didn’t have to be an essay it could just be ‘I had a really nice time with you today’.  Something so simple makes a huge impact.

I miss it.  I miss writing terribly.  Holding a pen is absolute torture now and it’s all I can do to write happy birthday to someone.  Emails and faceache just are not the same.  They’re nice, but not the same.  I try and write proper letters to people but I have to type them now which I think is somewhat bad mannered.  It’s cheating.  But it’s all I can do and so I console myself with ‘at least I’ve written’ and try not to think about the medium within which I have written.

So, going back to the show – Jodi last night, had set up a webpage where you could request a letter.  At the time of filming, she had 8,000 waiting emails.  According to Twitter, she had over 1,500 emails during the program.  There are that many people out there, who feel that they need that random act of kindness from a stranger to tell them that it will be okay, that they will get through, that they are enough.  And I’ll be honest, I wanted to add myself to that list.  But now I know how many people have also asked, I don’t want to add to her pressure.  I don’t want to make her feel overwhelmed.  In all honesty, I don’t feel worthy.

So. if you find yourself with half an hour this week or weekend, write someone a letter.  Or a card.  Or just a post-it note.  Or rearrange the fridge magnets if you can’t be bothered to pick up a pen.  Tell someone you like their hair, their top, that they made you smile today, that they *are* enough.  Take lyrics from a song (with credits in case they want to listen to it) if you can’t think of anything!  Maybe challenge yourself to write to one different person every day for a week.  Spend fifty pence on a stamp, make them feel special.  It’s important.

Or do what Jodi did.  Write a note and hide it on the bus or train or in the communal fridge.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  Just a handful of words on a boring square of paper.  You don’t even have to add stickers or glitter or a smiley face.

Words hurt and that hurt lasts a lifetime.  But words can also make someone’s life turn turtle in a good way.  Words can remind someone that it’s worth persevering, that it’s worth struggling through because somewhere out there, someone does give a stuff.  Someone does care.

July 12, 2016

What *have* you done?!

Posted in July tagged , , , at 11:25 am by viewfromthisdesk

As mentioned before, I’ve been using my crutches more frequently this year.  It is what it is.  And yet, even people who have known I’m not in the best of states have that horrified gasp of ‘what *have* you done’ as their greeting, as opposed to ‘morning, lovely to see you’ which I’d much prefer if I’ve managed to get dressed and leave the house.

I had a situation a couple of weeks back where I had got out of bed, thrown clothes on and made it out into the world.  The person I first met just looked at the sticks and went ‘been doing to much have we?’ with a grin, so that was fine.  Topic done, dusted and left.  Then someone else came and did the horrified end of the world situation and wouldn’t leave it alone.  But what HAVE you done?  It wasn’t nosey, it wasn’t even really concern it was just on repeat.  Which did my head in.  So I smiled and said ‘oh you know how it is these days, these husbands think they can get away with anything they like’ thinking a joke would just let it lie.  ‘Don’t be silly’ came the reply, ‘what have you done’

At this point I wanted to get to my feet (and sticks) in an elegant fashion, much-like some new-born giraffe that had been born on its head and say ‘it’s none of your business, shut up and respect personal boundaries’

Instead, I replied again and said ‘it’s just my life now, I got out of bed and this is what happened’

They just wouldn’t accept my answer.  I wasn’t wanting to get into a conversation about my ME, about how some days I can’t walk or balance or do anything. How it was effort enough to get more than my dressing gown on that morning, how my hands were still burning from having to brush my teeth and hair.

I looked at person number one, begging them to get the other person to just shut up and thankfully, the message was understood.  Person two was told to stop asking questions and just leave it.

But the experience has shaken me up a bit.  I’d finally gotten my head around the fact that it’s okay to be out on crutches, that it’s fine to still make the effort to go out even if that level of extra support is required.  Yet this level of persistent questioning that invaded all aspects of personal space ruined it all.  If I know you and we consider each other to be friends, I’ll tell you the truth – if you genuinely asked.  Equally, if you were a friend, you’d know that today wasn’t a great day but I wanted to see you and therefore it was a sticks or cancel situation.  You’d be thrilled to bits that I still made it out.  You wouldn’t care about the sticks.

I’m finding myself analysing everything now.  Do I really need to go out?  Do I really need to go somewhere because there will be other people there.  Can I ask hubby or a friend to go instead?  I’m getting hermit-like again.  It’s not good and I don’t know how to fix this.

July 5, 2016

Learning the art of balance

Posted in July tagged , , , , , , , at 2:29 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve been utterly awful at the whole ‘pacing and prioritising’ thing that the medical peeps bang on about.  I’ve been brought up with the ‘if something needs doing, get on and do it’ attitude and approach.  It’s hard to change something that has been forced into your brain for so long.

This year has been the most challenging for me so far.  I’ve spent way more time on my crutches than in any year previously.  I’d like to claim it’s because I want to show off my gorgeous coloured sticks but it isn’t.  My joints and balance have been particularly horrendous this year and I cannot attribute it to any particular reason other than this condition is deteriorating.  I’m not doing as much physical stuff as I used to or indeed want to.  Any fun event is wrapped in days of resting and relaxing and neoprene things.  My bat work is set up on the basis of not much walking around on site and me being somewhere I can sit for the survey which is neither professional or ideal.  Concerts are few and far between this year.

On the back of all that misery however, I had a light bulb moment last week which I feel deserves praise.  I was working away for ten days, at what I call my temping job.  It’s a tough gig though.  It’s a proper eight to nine hour day, it’s constantly busy and noisy and bright.  There is nowhere to hide, nowhere to escape to when it gets too much and certainly no flexible working hours.  It always makes me ill and I’m absolutely aware it makes me ill so nothing *should* be planned for the time I’m temping.  Nothing except sleep and more meds.

In previous years, I’ve taken the approach that of course I can do it all.  Of course I can temp and keep house and do bat surveys and have a social life, of course I’ll be fine.  With bad consequences.

This time, I literally just did temping.  The house is now a mess, I turned down bat work and I had no life outside of the nine hour day.  It was work-home-pyjamas-sleep.  So I managed some time of balance.  Not in the literal sense because I was on my multi coloured sticks for the whole time, but balance in terms of not trying to do it all.

But how do I now not over compensate for this week of being sensible?  This week I have booked three surveys with another as a possible.  I desperately need to turn into some crazy person with the ability to clean the house (even though housework is one of my worst pain triggers) and make it all look normal and respectable.  I just can’t do everything in a sensible and balances fashion, I’m wading through treacle whilst being stuck inside a constricting jumper.  I can’t employ someone to clean because I can’t afford it.  I can’t turn down temping or bat work because I can’t afford to do that too.

I’m clinging to the ‘look how well I did last week’ attitude in the hope that no one will notice what a mess I’m making of this week!

July 2, 2015

self pity warning

Posted in July tagged , , at 2:39 pm by viewfromthisdesk

I’ve just made a card for someone.  It took me nearly an hour which is stupid for what is actually is, but I still stuck with it.  And it looks reasonably straight and I’m sure the spelling is correct but it HURT.  My fingers, every bone and joint and stretchy thing are screaming at me.  I hate this.  And I’m torn, because I loved designing and making this one.  It’s the first card in about three years.  I feel proud about it and I hope the recipient loves it (not even going down the road of what if they hate it?!!) but is this physical pain worth the emotional smugness?

 

I don’t want to sell/throw/donate all my crafting stuff but if I can’t make like I used to, then shouldn’t I just forget that previous life?

July 31, 2014

To hydro, or not to hydro …

Posted in July tagged , at 9:15 am by viewfromthisdesk

… That is indeed the question.

 

My first hydrotherapy session was yesterday and full of enthusiasm (not) I made my way to Worcester Hospital to enter the hydro unit and be face to face with a sign that said ‘pool closed for maintenance’ ….. Apparently it’s been out of service for three weeks now and the physiotherapists are doing their fruit.  The lovely lass I saw before, came out and was ‘deeply sorry because they had forgotten to call me.’

So, rather than having driven to Worcester for nothing, and having paid for car parking already, I stayed for a hot wax treatment which was brilliant and weird at the same time.  Massive box, kinda like a metal fish tank is full of paraffin wax and you dip your hands (or feet) into it five times, so building layers of warm wax.  Then you put said limbs into weird plastic bags, wrap in towels and sit for half an hour.  Best bit is peeling it off!  Think pva glue when at school but better.

I now want a paraffin wax bath.  You can get them from Amazon and Tesco apparently.

 

I can’t really add many positives to this post, it’s been a tough week all things considered.  I’ve been busy and not sleeping well and so I’m sore. My positives that I am thankful for would  be:-

– my wrist widget and splints holding my hands together
– my compression tape keeping my thumbs in the right place
– my neoprene things keeping joints vaguely comfortable
– my TENS machines (although I need to buy a family pack of 9V batteries!)
– bat surveys keeping me focussed on the here and now and enjoying my license that I’ve worked so hard to get.
– upcoming birthdays.  Not just mine!  I love watching people open what I’ve got them because I try and put lots of effort and thought into the gifts.  But mine is soon too 🙂

July 21, 2014

Weekend reflections

Posted in July tagged , , , at 12:01 pm by viewfromthisdesk

* Love thunder and lightening storms.  Nature at it’s most powerful and beautiful.  Although I don’t love how it’s trashed my roses!

* Am reconnecting with peeps.  My illness has made me withdrawn and unwilling to connect with others.  I can’t be the person I used to be so I’d rather be nothing to them.  But that isn’t healthy for either side.

* Went out for a grown up dinner on Saturday for a friend’s birthday.  I didn’t drop anything, I wore a frock I’d never worn before (I know, another frock!) and it was at a gorgeous converted Art-Deco place.  Love art-deco and the food was lushious too.  Can’t wait to return 🙂

* Good news I had hinted at on Thursday seems to becoming reality.  If hubby agrees that is.

* Have reached out to friends this weekend for emotional support and advice.  Have admitted to true feelings and whilst they are hurtful and raw for me, I know my friends will get me through.

* Managed to avoid an impulse shopping buy.  Had an email from my fave online jewellery company with a picture of some earrings included.  Wanted these earrings lots.  So … email landed Thursday night, I go to purchase on Friday morning and there are none available.  Little note to them ‘when are they back in?’ reply – ‘they’ve been discontinued’.  Errrr, you what?!!?  Needless to say, I wasn’t best pleased and told them so.  Oops.

July 18, 2014

Get me, all positive energy-ness

Posted in July tagged , , at 11:33 am by viewfromthisdesk

* My afternoon with my Godfather was just amazeballs and he even enjoyed my orange goo I served up for tea.

* My bat bestie simply loved her b’day pressies and I’m thrilled because I sourced and designed one with tonnes of smiles and happy memories.

* I think we had some good news yesterday morning, I’m just waiting for it to be confirmed.

* I had an amazingly fantabulous reflexology session yesterday afternoon.  Just perfect.

* I treated myself to ice cream afterwards.  Raspberry cheesecake and Lemon Meringue.  Lush.

* NTLive last night was really good fun.  Looking forward to the next transmissions in September.

* Kitkat chunky orange bars are the best.  Feel free to send me a jiffy-bag full for my birthday.  Or just because you love me.

* The weather is looking gorgeous for the next couple of days.  Although I slept through the storm overnight.  Gutted.

July 16, 2014

A positive challenge

Posted in July tagged , , , at 9:47 am by viewfromthisdesk

So.  On a certain social media website, I have been ‘nominated’ (challenged) to write three positive comments every day for five days.  Being as I can’t even write a blog post every week just once, I figured that was a potentially tricky challenge!  So … I’ve come to the decision I will write as many positive comments as I can think of, when I remember to write!  No wingeing, no woe-is-me, just happy good things.

1 – Last Friday I went to a family wedding and saw loads of people that I haven’t seen for simply ages.  The sun shone and it was a gorgeous day. Love and hugs and profiteroles.  Result.

2 – At said wedding, I wore a frock.  This fact is unremarkable except I wear a frock possibly twice a year at most and this frock I haven’t been able to wear for two years since I finished WW.  I lost 12lbs in 5 weeks to wear this frock and NO ONE noticed.   But I know I looked good in it b’cs I’ve got a photo on my phone to prove it!

3 – My Godfather is coming to visit me at home today.  He lives far away and I see him maybe once a year so it’s going to be a fab afternoon of tea and chats and maybe a cheeky slice of cake. I can’t wait.

4 – I have a bat walk planned for the park next Friday (25th at 9pm if anyone is interested lol) and it’s going to be glorious weather (I’ve decided) so fingers crossed for some peeps turning up and enjoying my ramblings.

5 – I went to Oxford two weekends ago and found a beautiful silver bat charm for my bracelet.  I have bought it in honour of Bollinger and since it’s been in my possession, I’ve felt great calm with regards my attitude to what I did for him and how things turned out.  I did not fail him, nature just works that way sometimes.

6 – I had the appt at the pain clinic on Monday to borrow the TENS machine from the NHS.  I figured I’d take full advantage of the appt b’cs I’ve jolly well paid taxes for all my working life and rah rah rah!  I do have one of my very own, kindly posted to me by my Aunt and I’m now searching for new sticky pads for it (Boots are useless) b’cs I’m really liking this machine.  Feels a bit odd for ten seconds or so when I switch it on, but I do believe it will be a great help and reduce the amount of top-up drugs I need to take.

7 – Our Tom and Barbara summer is going well.  We have ten chickens (producing two eggs boo hiss) but so far we’ve been harvesting spuds and broad beans and runner beans and beetroot and sweet peas.

8 – It is less than one month until my birthday and I’m getting terribly exciting.  Attempting to resist the urge to check my Amazon wish list every ten minutes to see what has fallen off – for the time being at least.

9 – I have some top friends that I am lucky to spend time with;  in reality and over the interweb.

10 – I have booked a return trip to Lundy and you all know how much that place works magic for me.

July 9, 2014

A new addiction

Posted in July tagged , at 10:27 am by viewfromthisdesk

I have been introduced to an app called ‘Words with Friends’ – it’s essentially scrabble by mobile and it’s been brilliant recently at helping me maintain words skills and mental awareness.

One of the things that has been affected by my M.E. is my speech.  Thinking sentences through and finding words is becoming increasingly more difficult.  I hate the fact I used to be articulate and now I stutter or go silent.  But this is helping me think of words and think of meanings and learn new words too.

Join in, help me keep the letters organised! I am MichelleY104 just search for this user name and invite me to a game.  But be gentle, I am rubbish remember!

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