Driven to distraction before languishing in limbo

Distraction was the order of the day yesterday. I’d slept well on Thursday night and woken feeling relatively refreshed, but I soon began to feel decidedly uneasy.

I knew that I was troubled both by having posted this the previous day and by having emailed an acquaintance to ask if she might possibly visit me and help out with a few chores. I felt increasing guilt and shame, and a rising sense of that damn fiend, terror.  

I took my digestive meds, ate some generic ‘Weetabix’ and caught up with some undemanding telly. While watching the new series of MasterChef, to keep track of who’s who, I gave contestants names such as Ms Bullock (when she smiled she reminded me of actor Sandra), Mr Citrus Chicken (his dodgy dish), Ms Berry (a dab hand at baking), Mr Rochdale and Mr Experimental. 

With terror still making its presence felt and preventing me from doing anything useful, I let myself fall asleep and napped for a couple of hours. I woke after a series of dreams, in the last of which I was having a heart attack.

Despite the anxious dreams, terror seemed to have slunk away while I slept. I ventured into the kitchen and made some Porridge Berry Bakes. They’re quick and easy to make and are a healthy way to satisfy a sweet craving. (Thanks are due to the person who shared her recipe on a Facebook group dedicated to eating well on a budget.)  

Beat two ripe bananas (mashed) with two eggs and some vanilla extract. Separately, mix two and a half cups of porridge oats with some cinnamon and one and half teaspoons of baking powder. Now mix everything together then add one and a half cups of milk (I use skimmed cow’s milk, soya, almond etc also work). Divide the mixture into greased muffin tins (or silicone if you prefer) and add your berry toppings of choice (I used blueberries, as my photos illustrate). Bake at 180 for 25-30 minutes. N.B. Choose a non-diary milk and replace the eggs with another banana for a slightly more dense but vegan-friendly cake. These are good for children’s lunch boxes, or so I’m told.

Porridge Berry Bakes ready for the oven
Porridge Berry Bakes ready to eat

More MasterChef came later and the appearance of Ms Pastry, Ms Cabin Crew, Ms Muddle, Ms Sour and Mr Bland among others. I also spent time reading the memoir of a woman who took her fight for ‘the right to die’ to the High Court

I was determined that today I would work on part two of that significant post (if you’ve been keeping up then you won’t need the hyperlinks šŸ˜‹) . I also needed to think about how on earth I might proceed from here. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool planner. I’m never without goals and plans of action, at least I wasn’t until now. After much brain-wracking and head-scratching, I felt as though I was languishing in limbo.I had no bloody clue what to do. Terror still lurked and threatened to pounce, somehow I kept it at bay. Somehow, slowly, very slowly at first, I started to write. I made two lists: What Does My Life Look Like Right Now? and How Should It Look? Alternative titles might be Existing vs Thriving or Deep Crisis vs Getting Better. I titled a third list, yet to be written, How Do I Get From One To The Other?  

Successful Scribbles

After a catch up with an online buddy and a few cups of tea, I wrote part two of that significant post, ‘Bullets 2016’, roughly in the order that they hit! From there this post began to take shape. While I was writing, an email arrived from the acquaintance I was worried about having asked for help, happily agreeing to do so. When you’ve nowhere to turn and you’re left having to ask for help from people you shouldn’t really be asking, the guilt is enormous … at least it is in my case. 

I don’t know the way out of all this, a few days before I found the strength to start blogging again I’d have felt the way out would be ‘in a box’. Now I only know that I think that writing is key.  

I’ve just re-read my post Silence Is Not Golden, for the first time since I published it. I’m surprised to find that it’s not quite so together as I felt it to be as I wrote it.Although it’s accurate and my story, it’s almost as though someone else wrote it, and that feels a little disconcerting. By contrast, as I’ve written this post, I haven’t felt as though the words were almost writing themselves nor as though writing was akin to pulling teeth. I just feel like me, writing  What that all means, goodness only knows. 

Sunshine, Sleeplessness and Soporific Solutions

I hope you’re appreciating my post titles of late, they’re jolly good, don’t you think?! šŸ˜. 

On Friday evening I didn’t remember that my productive day would lead to a pain-filled night, courtesy of my #spoonie conditions, and so I failed to take the double dose of medication that should have ensured that I slept regardless. Consequently, I spent the entire night awake, not even the beautiful tones of Neil Nunes reading the Shipping Forecast could placate the pain. I distracted the night away by reading and making occasional writing and journaling notes.

I took my daily digestive disorder medication around 8am yesterday. Breakfast was a treat of two cranberry and sultana hot cross buns and a large mug of tea. My ‘spoonieness’, exacerbated by lack of sleep, had me feeling very nauseous, weak, unsteady on my feet and fatigued. I climbed back into bed and with pain finally easing quickly fell asleep. 

I slept for around five and a half hours until 4pm. I really dislike sleeping, even napping, during the day. It doesn’t fit with my orderly seize the day attitude. Going ‘against the grain’ is a requirement of living with chronic illness.

On waking I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night but then determined that I would. 

I did some low-level activity, made and enjoyed a tasty dinner of two vegetarian sausages, root mash (pre-prepared) and peas, while silently rejoicing that this week I’d had the means to organise, fund and receive a supermarket grocery delivery. I emptied the dishwasher and washed some glass jars that I’d soaked for a time. 

Later I did some writing, messaged a friend via social media then watched some telly on my tablet.I’d taken a double dose of my Fibromyalgia medication and soon felt sleepy. Pain grumbled then roared in my legs. I teetered on the edge of sleep, too drowsy to be of use to man or beast, automatically manoeuvring said legs in the manner of physiotherapy exercises hoping to gently soothe my sacroiliac joint and attendant pains. Thinking about that I realise that in my prone and feeble state I’d make a easy meal for a beast, so some use then … 

At some point, soon after midnight I think, I dropped off. I woke briefly at 9am this morning, conscious but too groggy to be coherent, I quickly succumbed to sleep again. Next I woke at 1pm … really 2, since of course the clocks leapt forward overnight. Praise be for my automatically updating mobile phone and tablet computer. With a fancy for the horological, I’ve more than a few clocks to alter. 

I caught my heart just before it sank at the realisation of another day half slept away. No matter, we’ve got this, I told it, or at least I encouraged myself with a general sense of that.

Blogging and a bath are the priorities of the remains of the day; insistent period pain and associated digestive consequences an unexpected companion. 

That significant post that I mentioned the other day really needs to be written today as it’s a vital part of the process of trying to finally secure support, that process shifts up a gear tomorrow with a visit from my advocate. 

It’s been a weekend of sunshine where I live: all clear blue skies and brightness. I’ve witnessed it fleetingly through my kitchen window. I ache to be out there, on a sunlit and ‘spring-embracing’ walk, but I shroud that desire and, to cope, focus instead on my alternative sunshine. I have food, I have some contact with friends, I’ve slept, I’ve been reading, I’m cleaner, I’M WRITING AGAIN, a vital meeting is set to take place tomorrow, I think there may be hope; there may not be enough hope. I’ll concentrate on the first part, leaving the latter part of that sentence – oh God, how it feels like a sentence to be served –  to languish in the fog

Dear Reader, I wish  you some sunshine of your own. 


A new group … or Day 5 of The Rest of My Life

Today has been particularly challenging.Ā I’ve been reeling from big news that I received yesterday. It’s triggered the pain of loss and exacerbated intense feelings of loneliness.

I woke very early this morning – sometime around six o’clock. Realising that I wasn’t about to get back to sleep easily, I set about being productive and wrote a blog post. Still the difficult feelings persisted although I continued to be productive but carefully pace myself, and also took time to relax. Around lunchtime, feeling worse, I took myself off to bed, in the hope that a nap might help. Sometimes it’s the only option to try to halt a complete mood crash and descent into crisis, when no support is available. I slept peaceable enough and woke around 3:30pm, at first slightly disorientated. My mood was still flat.

I knew what I must do and that is be productive again. I set the dishwasher going, refilled my water jug, took some painkillers, tweeted the link to my earlier blog post, brushed and straightened my hair and put on some make up before sitting down at my desk to write this post and send a couple of important emails.

I’m due to go out in a little over an hour. I plan to try out a local craft group. It’s held a short walk from my place, lasts just 90mins and there’s free tea and cake! I am so isolated and the more I can engage, #spoons permitting, the better. I am anxious about going along. My comfort zone is to be on top form in the company of others, which, in my situation, is quite frankly exhausting. The aim this evening is just to get there and try not to put myself under pressure to perform. The aim is to make that effort but not strain myself. After all, this is supposed to be about getting fun and engagement into my life!

Wish me luck!

 

THREE PARTS of my series of posts about friendships should now be here – albeit out of order – PLEASE READ THEM IN ORDER OF PART ONE, PART TWO, THEN PART THREE – FOR THEM TO MAKE SENSE :) !! .

What a palaver.

I write a huge post, one that’s very important to me. I decide to publish it in three parts for ease of reading as it’s so long. In the process of publishing I manage to lose the second part and become very stressed, having already lost sight of the importance of the rudimentsĀ of ‘pacing’ to a #spoonie like me, and pushed myself too hard today.

IĀ started writing, I was enjoying it. The piece was going well and I really wanted the satisfaction of completing and publishing it today. I should have realised that wasn’t possible, stopped, and picked it up again another day. InsteadĀ I kept on writing … for hours, past plans to knit, plans to read, past dinner time and evening medication. I should have stopped earlier and picked up another day. Instead I pressed on, rushing and tiring, and something went wrong. I’ve had to work on even later in order to rewrite theĀ missing section from memory to the best of ability. I’m so tired now that I’ve lost all sense and capability! But … I’ve realised that each time I think I’ve got ‘pacing’ licked, I go and do something that makes me reailse that I’m still learning. I can still get carried away, especially by my passions, and do something that’s to my detriment and risks relapse. I will learn!

x

Today in tweets.

This evening I decided to set up a Storify.com account and use some of my tweets to tell you about a key event today.

Unfortunately WordPress no longer support Storify code so I’m unable to embed the story directly into this post, but pleaseĀ click here to read it.

TTFN x

It’s been a heavy week.

The words don’t want to flow today.

I hate the way that depression can suck up my creative juices, leaving me dehydrated. A husk: dry, brittle, barren.

Without low mood, the words come thick and fast, their passage from mind to fingertips fluid and free. It is THE best feeling in the world. I feel alive and, at one with myself.

I’m feeling weary and raw, after a week of events that have weighed heavily on my shoulders. There was an extended appointment with my GP and a four hour appointment to begin the process of dealing with my financial circumstances, and trying to avoid becoming homeless. The bad news I had expected was confirmed, because of issues with my husband, from whom I have separated, great obstacles loom large on the path going forwards. My newly-appointed housing support officer, and the adviser at the homelessness prevention charity with whom we both met, were kind. I felt supported, an unfamiliar feeling after years of having to go it alone. They didn’t sugar coat the pill, but encouraged me to delay taking it! In other words, I must continue to take things no more than one day at a time, and despite knowing what difficulties lie ahead and what awful outcome I may face, I mustĀ try as far as possible to put that out of my mind for now.

Meditation helps. I discovered the, in my opinion, brilliant HeadspaceĀ a few years ago. I’ve used it first to learn aboutĀ meditationĀ and how to do it, (Clue: it’s not much to do with sitting cross-legged on the floor and muttering ommh … ) then to practise it … albeitĀ in fits and starts. I’ve found it difficult to commit to consistent practise, having had so very much going on in my life – which is, of course, why regular meditation would be particularly beneficial! Since I’m making more efforts to prioritise my own needs, from this week forward I’m setting about making that vital commitment.

****

It’s now just before 9pm. I started writing the above at around 2:30 today. I spent a little while on it and some words did eventually appear, then I was interrupted when my friend popped in for a coffee and we chatted while I made a banana loaf. She left me with a packet of fancy biscuits, a hug and instructions not to do too much. I had a wee break and then cracked on in the kitchen, replacing the banana loaf in the oven with an aubergine to roast. After some other kitchen chores, I set about skinning a batch of very ripe tomatoes to make a version of @JackMonroe’s Use-Me-With-Everything Tomato Sauce from the book A Girl Called Jack. You can read about my new found connection with cooking here, something I thought couldn’t happen after abuse disconnected me from it. It turns out skinning tomatoes isn’t great for my #spoonie pain. The whole thing took longer than I anticipated but it was worth it, and tasted great. I’ve eaten some, put a serving into the fridge and another into the freezer. I’ve just skinned the aubergine and mashed the roasted flesh with a drizzle of olive oil and plenty of pepper. I usually spread the resulting tasty gloop onto thin oatcakes. I can’t afford those right now, so instead I’m going to have it on some back of the cupboard, just past the Best Before date, organic sesame seed wholegrain rice cakes. We’ll see how that goes.

All this endeavour has helped my mood, but my body is complaining some. I feel sore and very tired. So, I shall post this, then clamber into my pyjamas and curl up with a cuppa.

TTFN x

Updated content and new blog posts

I’ve given my web site a bit of a makeover in recent days – changing the theme, updating all the existing pages and adding new content to them. I’ve written several new blog posts too – some ‘massive missives’, some short and sweet.

Now that I’ve started writing again, I don’t want to stop, but I must for now as I’m being bothered quite a bit today by symptoms of chronic health issues – and as I’ve learned to my cost, it’s vital to pace myself.

You can expect to hear much more from me. I expect there are people who long ago subscribed to this blog, forgot all about it and are now wondering who the devil I am and what this is all about. You can find out more by visitingĀ my About and Dreams, Goals, Passions … Hope pages :).

For now, I must away to rest …

Next up: Operation Self Care