Rebuilding myself and my life after decades within an abusive family situation. I survived, but I plan to thrive … blogging about physical and mental health; wellbeing; social justice; creative arts; and more
15 minutes in total Three minutes jogged at 3.4mph
then nine minutes walked at 3.7mph
and finally three minutes jogged at 3.7mph
Total distance – 0.89miles and total calories – 80.1.
I haven’t been slacking, I promise, I wasn’t able to use the treadmill on Monday to Thursday this week due to fatigue … and just to clarify as some people do get confused, fatigue isn’t the same as normal tiredness, it’s extreme tiredness, like someone just plugged the plug cutting off the energy supply, you cease to function. My fatigue is related to my Fibromyalgia. I have been active this week – busy days out of the flat on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, so I have had some exercise. I am still getting over last week’s virus and I’ve had a LOT of stress to deal with this week in the form of assessment appointments for NHS trauma therapy, which gobbled spoons. I’ll explain why that came to be so difficult in a separate post. Some days I have crawled into bed before 8pm, once at 6:30pm!
I’d planned to make this a 15 minute week on the treadmill, repeating my stats from Day 17 each day. As I had missed four days, today I decided to push a little past those stats and jogged for a total of SIX instead of four minutes. It was hard work 😀 but satisfying … and I learned that I need to remember to remove my wig, if I’m wearing one (I have alopecia (female pattern balding), in case you’re wondering) before getting onto the treadmill because otherwise I really melt!
Still under the cosh of this virus, I skipped Day 16, but increased my time by two minutes today, Day 17, instead of by one in order to make up for that.
Time: 14 minutes
I jogged for the first three minutes at a pace of 3.4mph
the walked for the next 10 minutes at a pace of 3.7mph
before I jogged the finalminute also at 3.7mph
Total distance: 0.83miles
I’m happy with that but I feel pretty tired now because this virus is walloping me. I’m enjoying the jogging, although the last couple of sessions have been hard because of the added impact of the virus. Walking still feels a bit boring compared to jogging but increasing my pace today helped to keep me engaged.
Tomorrow is a rest day. I start a 15 minute week on Monday, by which time I hope to be through the worst of this virus. It’s frustrating me in its greedy consumption of spoons! I am feeling grotty, fatigued, slowed down and I’m much less productive as a result – which is risky for my mental health – but I am coping so far.
I jogged for the first three minutes and the last minute and I walked the remaining time.
I said that my plan would be subject to revision as I reflected on my progress and here are my thoughts so far.
I’m delighted to be jogging AT ALL, I didn’t think that would be possible as I had become so deconditioned due to illness and gained so much weight.
Now that I’ve introduced a little jogging, the walking is feeling a bit boring in comparison so I’ve decided to maintain the 3.4mph pace for the jogged minutes for now, but up the pace for my walked minutes in that hope that that will increase my engagement. I will also try to dig out my old MP3 player and set up some podcasts on that that I’m longing to hear.
If I can manage a session tomorrow on top of going out then I plan to do 13 minutes and then 14 minutes on Saturday.
I’ll do 15 minutes on Monday and then I plan to stay at 15 minutes for the rest of that week. My pace will probably stay at the same rate but I plan to jog for a total of five minutes – three at the start and two at the end.
Day nine was a write off, as was Day seven as I said in my last tread report. It has been a challenging week on the #spoonie front.
Instead of increasing my session length by one minute each day from Monday, I instead increased by two minutes on Wednesday and again today.
Stats: Nine minutes at 3.1mph – 0.44miles in total. I did a very light jog for the first two minutes, which felt good, and the usual walk for the remaining time. I’ve also had a wee stroll up to the top of my road and back today, as I did on Monday. I hope I don’t pay for it with a painful night, as I seemed to on Monday!
Yesterday was a miss. I was due to increase from five to six minutes yesterday, but jumped instead to seven minutes today.
Stats: 0.35miles at 3.1mph – it felt slow today and I was itching to increase my pace, again I reined in Tigger and stuck to my plan! I’ll continue to increase my time by one minute from now on, on up to 20 minutes where I’ll reassess, then hopefully move on up to 30 minutes. From 10 minutes I can start to increase my pace … yay!
With me, there’s ALWAYS a plan. I discovered Bullet Journalling last year … and was as happy as the proverbial pig in muck/mud/sh*t – however you choose to term it, having discovered a cool system to both simplify and maximise my planning activities!
I was in some pretty deep doo doo at the time and struggling to keep afloat, 2016 being my annus horribilis, but at least I had a ‘customizable and forgiving organization system’ to help me… And one, according to the creators of the system, that will ‘teach you to do more with less,’ surely that’s got to be a goodie for a spoonie?
Tea is oft purported to be the cure for everything. Personally, although I like tea, I think stationery is the answer to everything. A nice new notebook, PENS, lots of lovely PENS, and paper, and labels and stickers too … oh the joy! Give me those and I’ll scribble and doodle my way to a master plan. If you’re a stationery/planner geek, you probably already know the joy of just doing a Google image search for ‘bullet journal’ …
A Bullet Journal is essentially – diary/planner, journal, to do lists, notebook, budget tracker … and anything else you need … in one. For me, a bullet journal keeps me on track but does away with the need for a multitude of ‘systems’, and it’s simplified approach does allow you to ‘do more with less’. Click here for a quick lesson if you want to learn more or start your own.
I hadn’t named this latest plan until it just struck me that I usually do – others have been Operation Self Care and Operation Fight Back – and then I knew that I wanted this one to be called Operation Thrive. I feel a bit emotional having just written that, because thriving means so very much to me. I had a taste of it earlier last year – when I had some support for a time. I survived but I plan to thrive is this blog’s tagline. Thriving is my recovery goal. Abuse recovery to me = thriving. I can’t wave a magic wand and cure my chronic health issues but when I’m living my life to the fullest alongside them, that’ll do me! When I’m thriving I’ll know that I’ve won, that despite all the pain, and grief, and terrible terrible loss, and so much time spent just existing let alone living, I’ll know that I’ve made it. I know that I’m already a winner in that I’m not bitter, and because I’m a good person and I am, by choice. very different to the people who abused me. BUT thriving, that’s the ultimate WIN.
Operation Thrive – plan initiated 10th June, 2017
WRITING – finally this is coming top of the list and it’s staying there.
Ending isolation and reducing loneliness by increasing connection
Reinstating routine and regaining function
Being able to get out of my flat – and then get out and about locally
Getting my flat ‘immaculate’ ready for a routine inspection by the landlord’s agent
Re-engaging with GP and getting vital health checks done
Taking steps to begin to tackle disordered eating
Psychotherapy/Trauma therapy – it’s difficult to know where to place this because of difficulties/delays with the provision of it
Starting to rebuild fitness – and taking steps to resume physiotherapy treatment
Visiting dentist both to resume my treatment programme to restore my smile devastated by a dental phobia caused by abuse, and also to assess damage caused by latest crisis and create further treatment plan. (Delayed by illness and financial difficulty)
Optician – have overdue eye test and purchase new specs. – also delayed by illness and financial difficulty.
P.I.P – make a new application for Personal Independence Payments
PRIORITY 3: – can only be undertaken once a support worker/P.A. is in place (assuming the local authority awards funding)
Back onto a calorie counted diet
Increased exercise – talking walks and going swimming – and once physiotherapy is complete joining an 10 week exercise management programme for people with disabilities/chronic illness – assuming I can get onto it, if not I’ve got a Plan B 🙂 !
Getting out and about beyond my immediate area and support groups
Restarting hobbies, building new ones and making new connections – join a choir (September) and an art group
There are sub-categories to some of the above – but you get the gist as it stands! Priority 1 is all now either underway or complete.
Getting back to work is a HUGE goal, but as I am not to try to run before I can walk, for a change, I’ve not yet included it on this plan. Once I’m settled into Priority 3s, I’ll add more!
The bulk of my Bullet Journalling is at the moment centred on ‘Daily Logs’ – a list of what’s happening and what’s to be done on any given day, and daily recovery focused journal entries that I’ve called ‘Recoverlogs’ – a term shamelessly snaffled from mental health campaigner and vlogger, Jonny Benjamin. You may have seen the brilliant Channel 4 film Stranger on the Bridge about his own mental health story.
To do lists keep me on track but are also a great motivator. It feels SO good to tick … ‘done’ ! Budgeting goes in there too, shopping lists, ideas, thoughts and plans for blog posts, notes for and on therapy sessions, and so on. This plan is no small undertaking. There is no one working on it with me, no one to oversee it. My social worker is classed as my ‘key worker’ but is only involved with me as far as carrying out a social care assessment and managing the application for funding to pay for some support. My GP doesn’t know the half of it, as there is never enough time to fill him in on all that’s going on for me. I hope there’ll be an opportunity to share the plan with him at our next appointment on 3rd July.
I’ve made a lot of progress away from the suicidal depths and towards my goal of thriving. I’ve already written about my adventures in admin. I *think* I’m winning so far but there’s more to do!
Here’s what I’ve done so far. I’ll give you a bullet list, I’m going to write another post, perhaps tomorrow, about MY BIG PLAN. With me, there is ALWAYS a plan … even if at the worst of times, it’s only a suicide plan. I thrive on planning, targets and goals, proactivity and productivity. Did I ever mention that I’m a wee bit driven …
Perhaps having to make the best of terrible circumstances when I was younger is what helps me to capitalise on every scrap of hope, opportunity or potential. Regardless of the reason I’m very grateful for that capacity.
I’ve showered 13 out of those 14 days.
I’ve been out twice to take out my rubbish, twice to visit my GP surgery and once to go to the hospital – having vital physical health checks. Bearing in mind that prior to this I had been completely housebound for four months.
Progress is ongoing following my assessment for social care (a personal assistant for four hours per week) – I’ll blog separately about that.
I’ve set the ball rolling for a return to the physiotherapy treatment I was about to begin when the crisis that left me housebound hit in February. I may not be allowed to resume – a funding issue – but it won’t be for the want of trying.
My eating is improving – another more in a separate post for that!
I’ve been keeping in touch with friends via email and social media and they are keeping in touch with me. I feel that I’m rebuilding some old friendships and developing new ones – if you fall into either category and agree, do let me know, my friendship confidence is still a little shaky :-).
Another dear friend stepped up two weeks ago, asking how she could help, her message moved me to tears. It’s gratitude, she said, for a “normal” life. This is because of the research I did that helped to crack the conundrum of the rare condition that was devastating her life. She said, “I have never nor will I ever forget what you have done for me.” I well remember her illness, and know I did research but much beyond that is lost to me. This was soon after my abuse was uncovered and the rug was pulled out from under me. I was all over the place but I’m so glad I seemed to have pulled it out of the bag then. Her words mean the world to me.
I asked a Twitter pal if she’d like to meet up next year – there’s reason for it being next year – and she said yes, which is lovely, and I look forward to our ‘day out’ .
I received a ‘care package’ in the post from another online friend, full of thoughtful items – either useful, fun or edible! From comedy dvds to batteries, a massage ball to peppermints.
On all the occasions that I left my flat I wasn’t wearing any make up (OK, except lipstick) this is also progress – and yes, more on that in a separate post!
I hyper-focus on ‘the bright side’ – that song could be my anthem, and I’ve recognised that in the last few days I’ve been having thoughts along the lines of … Look at you, you’re doing OK. You’re fine really. You don’t need support. It’s a familiar refrain.
I know a lot about ‘getting on with it’. I know a lot less about thriving within a supportive network. Growing up, trauma was played down and I was schooled to ‘get on with it’, to such an extent that it’s one of the main reasons that I didn’t recognise that I was being deliberately harmed.
Aside from that, having spent four months housebound, showering a couple of times a month, bingeing, starving and stinking, alone, dealing with flashbacks, grief and increasing despair, the last two weeks do look like nirvana in comparison!
I have to remind myself that while it’s great to applaud each step of progress and C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E the small things … it feels odd to call them ‘small’ because they are huge achievements when you’ve been struggling so much, but to most people showering, going outside, doing a little shopping, taking care of the basics, are small things … I have to have an eye on the bigger picture. That’s to say that I need to recognise the difficulties I still face, the burdens I carry and the mountains I have to climb, and allow myself to get help where I can AND feel worthy of it.
There’s more on the progress front but I think I’ve given you the highlights! I’m flagging, I’m low on spoons today. I plan to do my treadmill ‘5’ then allow myself to ‘flop’ and indulge in a telly fest of Doctor Who and Pitch Battle!
I don’t know where I would be now if my friend hadn’t made that mercy dash two weeks ago. I am glad that I don’t have to think about that.
Thank you for reading. As ever, I welcome comments, conversation and tweets.