Author Archives: Just Some Stuff About Us

About Just Some Stuff About Us

I live in West Sussex with three bonkers children and a Rock God for a husband. I'm somewhere in my thirties but I frequently have to count on my fingers to remember where exactly. I like to talk about myself and my chums. Some people like to read it.

Life Laundry

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God, it’s been a year since I’ve blogged. It’s been a funny old couple of years. As you know, my mental health fell off a cliff and it’s all been quite the adventure in one way or another. 

For a few months now I’ve been determined to make real, positive changes. Not just with my illness but with life in general. Some big, some minuscule, some in between. 

So for starters I go to two group therapy sessions a week. One is for general life stuff around my bpd, and the other is what I affectionately call ‘Drunk Club’. I’m loathe to call myself an alcoholic (said every alcoholic ever..) but my drinking patterns have tended towards the destructive, shall we say, and this group (not AA) is to do with addressing that. 

So here’s a little overview of my recent changes. Or as I like to say, my Life Unfucking Manifesto. 

Part one is that since September I’ve been walking the Littlest Chum to and from school. It’s a mile either way, so four miles in a day. I take the dog with me and often walk on afterwards to get more steps in. My bossy FitBit keeps me motivated with this, and it’s great to see my steps and activity levels clock up. To be completely honest that’s mainly because the dvla said I couldn’t drive anymore, but I’m taking my wins where I can. And enforced exercise is still exercise, right?

I’ve also finally pulled my finger out and got my bus pass sorted (one of the few perks of being a Bonker), so the world is my oyster (well, the country, technically, but more realistically West Sussex). 

One bigger change has been my epic decluttering of the house. In the first two weeks of January I have de-shitted our entire house. It’s wonderful. Oh my actual god in a biscuit tin though at the amount of useless tat we had hoarded. I have quite literally filled our garage up with stuff for either the tip or the chazzer (that’s a job for another day…). I was ruthless. Somewhat unbelievably our house has been clean and tidy since. Our bedroom in particular is a joy to behold, and I treated myself to lovely new curtains and bedding so it looks well posh. 

My alcohol consumption is well underway to being completely in hand. Each week I set myself targets for drinking days/amount and this approach (rather than total abstinence) is really working out for me. 

Another hot topic has been trying to budget. I’m a terrible TERRIBLE spender, and although we’re not in dire straits it’s something I wanted to get a handle on. For the last few months we’ve transferred a set amount into a ‘spends’ account and that has to last the month. This has worked out well, and means that without my indiscrimate frittering we have lots of fun money to do stuff with the kids. I even went to IKEA last week and only spent £20. It’s the new me…

On that track, I’ve unfucked lots of financial things. Switching our mortgage, selling unwanted stuff, making sure we have the best deals on everything we pay for or receive. It took very little time and was well worth it. We’ve saved a small fortune. 

I’ve also adopted the attitude of JFDI. Just Fucking Do It. If it’s a job that will take less than five minutes (phoning the dentist, emptying a bin, putting a wash on) I do it there and then instead of adding it to my big list of ‘things to think about later’. It’s not working perfectly but I reckon it will soon be second nature. It’s anathema to my dark procrastinating soul but as a fully fledged member of the Lazy Arse Brigade it’s a life saver. Lots of five minute jobs instead of a whole day of working through a to do list. What’s not to like?

What else? Little things like getting enough sleep. Only eating cheesy chips once or twice a week. Knowing my limits, so if I’ve had an action packed few days I have to (and I mean have to, Rob enforces it!) spend a day on the sofa watching Netflix. Equally if I’ve had a few days bingeing The Good Wife and not getting dressed properly, I’m being much better at telling someone and doing the steps I’ve learned (mindfulness, self care, writing lists of positives). Basically managing my highs and my lows in a sensible way. Setting little goals for the bad days, and I’m talking about ‘have a shower’, ‘answer the phone’, ‘eat lunch’ kind of goals. It’s game changing. 

There’s other things going on that are a work in progress, like trying to be more present in my own life. This involves engaging with people, doing more stuff with the kids, arranging things with friends and family and generally putting myself out there a little bit more. I went away last weekend (for a sad occasion though) and spent time with my lovely cousins and aunts and uncles. Six months ago I would have made my excuses but I pushed through and it was well worth it to reconnect with those loved ones I only see rarely. Rob and I have accepted invitations out with friends over the next few months. I’ve been out for lunch and shopping a few times with my parents. Basically I’m trying very hard to get back out in the world instead of hiding away indoors and only spending time with my online friends (whom I love very very much and who have helped me through the last couple of years in all sorts of ways). No more Hermit Sam. 

I literally wouldn’t be here today without my Lovely Rob. So another part of my restructuring has been to try and take back the slack I landed him with while I was proper ill. So although he still makes all my coffees (because I do have to have some Diva-ness about me…) I do occasionally make him cups of tea. I do pretty much all of the cooking again and I’m keeping our house in order (literally and figuratively) by keeping on top of shit. I’m trying to make sure he has equal down time to me.  He’s been an absolute fucking saint to put up with me, I’ve either completely absented myself from life or been on madcap schemes and missions that cause us all drama. Not fun for him. But he’s never wavered. 

So that’s where I’m at. Nowhere near perfect but I hope I’m a damn sight better than I have been for a while. This year is going to be a good year, where we celebrate the good and tell the bad to fuck off and do one. 

I got this. 
Laters potaters xx

Admittance.

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This is a hard one to write. My depression has been escalating over the past couple of weeks, all I’ve done is sleep and mope. 

The nasty bitchy voice in my head that tells me I’m horrible and worthless has become deafening lately. It’s like being imprisoned with your worst enemy. I have moments when I can tell it to do one but then at times it becomes too loud to ignore. 

So I’m writing this from a hospital bed while I wait for the crisis team to come and assess me tomorrow. They are talking about admitting me this time. While I’m not thrilled by the idea, I’m at rock bottom and I’ll take any help I can get at this point. 

I should be happy. I have everything I want in life, a fab husband, lovely kids, we live in our dream home and I have a brilliant supportive family around me. But my bastard brain with its wonky wiring is conspiring against me and I feel like I don’t deserve the life I have. I got to the point at the weekend of realising they will all be better off without my toxic input. And now I feel guilty and ashamed that I’ve caused a load more drama for them. I can’t win. I can’t see any path of action that has a good outcome. I suppose the only thing I can do is keep on keeping on but I can’t do that at home. 

So I’m here wrapped in a hospital blanket, unable to sleep and listening to the sounds of the busy ward, hoping that tomorrow someone will have a magic wand they can wave to turn me back into the happy go lucky optimist I used to be. Because I can’t go on like this, ruining everything. 

I hesitated to write this because it shows my extreme weakness, but I figured the one thing my illness can’t take away from me is my honesty. It’s tried, it’s made me lie to my loved ones about just how low I am, but I’m not going to lie anymore. I need help, even though I don’t deserve it. 

I need to get better, but I’m in a race against time as every time I harm myself my odds get worse. I don’t want to gamble with my life anymore, I just need to convince my brain that I’m worth it. All I can see in the mirror is an unemployed fat Eeyore whose existence is pointless.

I know you probably all think I’m pathetic and weak and I don’t blame you, as it’s exactly how I feel. But I won’t give in without a fight and that’s why I’m here in this bed because even at my lowest I was able to tell Rob and ask for help. 

Mental health is the last taboo and I hate that. I refuse to feel ashamed for needing help, although I reserve the right to feel guilty about how my illness plays out. I will keep blogging my thoughts if people want to read them, not just for me but for anyone struggling.  I know it helps me when I read blogs from fellow sufferers so I hope that all my soul baring can have a positive input somehow. The thought makes me feel slightly less pointless. 

I’ll sign off now before I lose my nerve but I’d welcome any comments if you’ve read this far. I want to beat this. I have to. 

My mental health and me. 

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I haven’t posted for a while because I haven’t been in a good place. I’ve been mired in depression for over a year now and although I feel like I’m on the way out of it it’s been a long old slog. 

One of the things that’s come out of this latest visit by the black dog, after a lot of intervention, is that underlying it all I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I’ve no idea why it wasn’t diagnosed before, although it’s been mentioned for years. Now that it has properly been defined I can access a therapy course designed to reprogramme my brain, particularly my stress responses (currently not good), and tackle my paranoia and dissociation. 

It turns out that a lot of my ways of dealing with the world are not just maladaptive and a bit shady but totally changeable and reversible. My impulsivity, which has always defined me and not always in a good way, is something I can actually overcome through hard work and therapy. The fact that I turn to a bottle or a spending spree when I feel threatened or stressed is not simply part of who I am, it’s a disorder that can be cured or at least managed. I feel a bit like I’ve been given the keys to the kingdom, or at least a shot at getting them. 

I’ve been on some nasty medication for the past year that has made me fat and foggy, so that’s not been fun. I’m looking forward to getting to a place where I don’t need it any more and I know it will take time and effort but I feel really positive that this therapy will be the turning point.  

If I’m baring my soul here I might as well say that I’ve never really felt normal or real, although I’ve done a reasonable job from time to time in pretending. I’ve somehow managed to bag myself an awesome husband and raise three wonderful children despite my issues. I’ve even held down jobs here and there while wearing my sensible head. But it always comes back to these huge crashes every few years where I harm myself, binge eat, spend all the money and generally fuck up because I don’t feel real, or feel anything, or feel too much. 

So that’s where I am. This last year has been a blur of dark thoughts and just getting through the day but 2016 is going to be all about healing and learning.  I will get better and I will be awesome. I won’t hide away anymore. I’m going to learn how to believe that people love me and won’t desert me, that I can cope with stresses without harming myself with booze or blades, that my world isn’t going to shatter if I let people see the real me. I’m going to learn who I actually am so I don’t have to use all my multiple faces.  I will not be defined by my illnesses and I will be worthy of the good things I have. 

Hooooo.  I’ll decide whether to post this in a minute <gulp>. It’s quite a raw one. 

MineCon

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I’m posting this from MineCon, an event my nearly 13yo boyo has dreamed of attending for the past five years. It usually abroad (Paris, Orlando and the like) but this year it is in London and I made him a rash promise that I would attempt to get tickets. Which, purely by a fluke, I did. So I’ve basically spent the family holiday budget on two days of all things Minecraft <gulp>. 

I am still very much batshit but the tickets were named and booked pre-breakdown so I have had to strap on my big girl pants and brave the crowds. It’s not been too heinous (apart from a minor wobble when I was convinced an aeroplane was going to land on the arena), it’s not overly crowded and seeing it through Harry’s eyes has been glorious. It’s 10,000 preteens and their parents with some inventive and amazing costumes dotted throughout (not us, we’re in our comfy togs). 

Seeing Harry in raptures of pure joy at all the Minecraft events and stands and games makes it all worthwhile, the crowds, the cost and the trouble all melt away. 

I love going all out for my children. I’m a pretty shoddy parent most of the time, I’m shouty and stressy and fail to remember important things like clean uniform and sports day, but I overcompensate by treating them to a standard of living that’s just that bit beyond expectations. I want them to have experiences and treats as often as possible; hotel stays, posh meals out, adventure days. None of us go without but I’d rather spend time and money on them than on us, and Rob’s the same. I don’t feel it’s spoiling them, we have limits and they don’t get everything they ask for, but if I can arrange it or buy it for them I go out of my way to do it. Just not if it involves remembering they have a half day at school or a dentists appointment, apparently. 

I will probably never be a supermum but giving them amazing treats once in a while makes me feel like I’m getting at least one thing right and that’s ok for now. 

Crutches and Bear Traps

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I’ve had a lot of time for thinking and self reflection lately, which has been a mixed bag in terms of mental health recovery, if I’m honest. 

I have LOTS of things I use as crutches on an almost daily basis. I drink, I smoke (after a break of almost a year, stupid head that I have), I lean on people online (and not enough on real life actual people). I cook, I decorate, I clean and I cross stitch and I cut my arms and legs. So as you can see I have a fair few maladaptive strategies in my arsenal alongside a couple of reasonable ones. 

I’m attending therapy three or four times a week right now and again, it’s been a mixed bag. Mindfulness is the one that I find least helpful. You’re supposed to focus on the now in order to ground yourself but I find the breathing and meditating makes me feel like I’m on the ceiling looking down. They keep telling me it takes time to really get it so I’m looking forward to the day I can accept my thoughts and concentrate on the present moment, and be all zen and shit. 

I also do a project group and a recovery skills workshop, and I do find these really useful, it’s more about peer support really and my fellow madzers are wonderful at making me feel less of an anomaly. It’s amazing how helpful it is to hear other people talking about their own depression, I do find that grounding. Plus I like making stuff, and we literally do basket weaving in one of the sessions 

But in my real life I forget all the useful recovery skills I’ve learned and I’m still going straight for the booze, food and fags, and yes, occasionally the razor when I feel wobbly. I need to remember that these are bear traps, not crutches. But it’s very hard when your brain is screaming at you. 

I’ve pretty much decorated the whole house in the last month or two. I do a room or a project in a day and I find it a useful distraction from the buzz in my head. But I’ll have done it all soon and I’m a wee bit terrified of what I’ll do then. As most of you know, impulsive is my middle name and I am the Queen of life changing decisions on a whim. So if I do happen to mention buying a racehorse or sailing round the world, you must promise to sit on me. 

My project for the next week is to use the crutches that are sensible and to remember to avoid the bear traps. I’ve turned into something of a domestic goddess lately (I even IRON for heaven’s sake…) so throwing myself into the housework is a good strategy, although it does lead to impulsive cushion purchases. 

I’ve also bought a Fitbit (there goes my impulsivity again) and I’m dutifully totting up my steps and logging my calorie intake, so when the urge to do something silly strikes I am taking myself off for long walks with the dog to clock up the miles. 

My challenge is to get through the week without treading on any bear traps (smoking notwithstanding as they have told me not to try giving that up again yet) and to properly identify those things that I can use as crutches without causing harm. 

I’m keeping on keeping on and it’s hard but I’ll be back to my usual cheery self soon, I’m sure. I’ll keep blogging because that is a good crutch for me and it’s good to keep a diary of how I’m feeling, and all will be well. 

Batshittery etc. 

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I don’t think I’ve written anything here for about a year. It’s been a year of extreme highs and lows. I won’t bore you with all the details but I do want to talk a bit about how I’ve been feeling. So indulge me. 

Last time I updated we had just moved house. It was an incredibly stressful time and I was wound very tightly. I also gave up the demon drink for the best part of the year, which meant moving house was a journey I experienced through the jagged glare of sobriety. The house is wonderful and moving was the best thing we’ve ever done but the stress was obviously building even back then.  

I started drinking again before Christmas, after limping miserably through the summer’s holidays and barbecues with a tonic and lime and a rictus grin. I wasn’t a happy soul and I decided it must be the drink that was missing from my life. 

Well, you can imagine how well this panned out. I started just drinking on ‘occasions’. But then of course it was Christmas and everything is an occasion. I was finding all of the things a struggle, and having a glass (well, okay, bottle) of wine of an evening was an effective way of drowning out the thoughts in my head. 

Between working full time, trying to keep the house at a reasonable level of hygiene, keeping the chums happy, fed and looked after, and all our other commitments, I had nothing left at the end of the day, except usually a bottle of wine. My weeks were blurring together into a smudged grey mess of just holding it together. I’d lost my mojo. I was in a cycle of feeling numb all day, having a drink to feel some emotion, and then suffering crushing guilt and self-loathing at yet another hungover school run in the morning before work. 

I visited the GP but it was a rushed appointment and I didn’t like the ADs he prescribed so I stopped taking them after a month. I tried several things to sort my own brain out, rather than admitting defeat and seeing the doctor again. I got a cleaner, went part time at work, bought a puppy. I even dabbled in exercise. But I was being sucked down the plug hole and true to previous form it culminated in a dramatic meltdown and being signed off work and put back on (different) ADs. But that was just the start of phase two of the ridiculousness. 

Depression is a tricksy wee beastie. For me it manifests in utter self loathing and revulsion. It makes it very very hard to admit my feelings to the people I love, because if they knew how disgusting I was they would hate me the way I deserve to be hated. So I plaster on my best attitude and soldier  on through because if I can convince them all I’m worth loving, then maybe I can convince myself. At the same time I fall into the self fulfilling prophecy trap by behaving like an utter lunatic; whether that’s drinking too much or spending money I don’t have, or procrastinating past the point of no return on important deadlines (like paying bills or posting letters) A trite example: I’d watch the washing piling up in the baskets and think, ‘see, if you were a real person you’d have sorted that by now’. And then instead of behaving like a real person and sorting it, I’d put it off until the pile became a towering mess in need of scaffolding. That really typifies the pathetic level of avoidance I’m capable of when I’m under the weather. I can’t work, because I can barely leave the house, I couldn’t (can’t, really, still) deal with real life at all. I had about an hour’s worth of oomph each day and that got me through the school run and back to my nest on the sofa. Tragic and ridiculous. 

So time trundled on, as it does, oblivious to my melodramas which all ended up, gradually and then all at once, with a suicide plan. Because everything made sense then. Without me around ruining their lives, everyone would be much happier. Life insurance would mean the mortgage was paid, so Rob could work part time and have lots of time with the kids and his music. They obviously wouldn’t miss me because all I did was make their lives harder, I’m disorganised, chaotic and shouty and awful. So this plan formed over a period of about four months, I suppose. I’d put away a stash of the unused medication from my previous GP visit just in case, and I’d looked up the doses to make sure it would just be a nice calm drifting off and not a horrible drama. 

In the meantime I just carried on, and I shouldn’t imagine anyone knew just how dark my brain had gone. I didn’t verbalise it at all. I had huge swings from total sobriety to nightly blackouts from week to week. I dabbled in self harming (in an ill thought out 90’s revival) as a way to remember I’m a real person. And this ended up being a turning point because, fortunately, Rob found out and lovingly but firmly suggested I get help. 
Help came in the form of the paramedics at first (not as dramatic as it sounds, it was a bank holiday so I called NHS 111 for advice on what to do about wanting to off myself and they sent them) then the Crisis Team. They are wonderful souls who visit every day and call to check in on me. Oh, I was a proper mess for a few days. The not getting out of bed or eating or showering part of the depression had kicked in. I was safe, I’d come clean about the pills (although hadn’t felt able to give up my stash, just in case), but I was in an utter breakdown. 

The psychiatrist told me I have an Emotionally Unstable Personality (I know, shocking, right?) and gave me some different meds, and a referral to group therapy twice a week. Oh and told me not to drink (duh). I’ve been in the new regime for just over a week now and I have most definitely turned a corner. I’m all about the recovery now, fuck depression, what a waste of time that shit is. 

It’s been an odd week, as I’m not allowed to drive just yet so I’ve been pretty much housebound. I’m still very very anxious so even walking the dog is a Herculean task, but I’ve been doing lots, and I mean LOTS in the house because although my brain is still working against me, I do have energy (finally!) so I have been keeping as busy as I can. I’ve cross stitched and decluttered and moved furniture and all sorts of improving activities. And having stayed in bed for nearly a week I now find myself only needing a few hours a night. Hence writing this blog at nearly midnight. 
  

I made two of these in the last couple of days, just as a fuck you to my addled brain. Stitching is great for stopping the fizzing and wah wah wah-ing in my head. And I can give them to my friends to buy their affection 😉

So that’s all my stuff lately. Basically I went a bit batshit but I’m on an upswing now, I’m not ready for the world yet but I thought I’d update here as a sort of toe dipping exercise. I’m sorry it is TERRIBLY me me me but fuck it, if I can’t be self indulgent here then where can i?

Plus also, it’s Mental Health awareness week, so check me out being all topical and shit. This isn’t actually the blog I intended to write tonight but it kind of got away from me and now that I’ve written it I think I’ll go with it, I think it’s good to talk about this stuff. If I’d broken my leg I’d have written about it so I don’t think my broken brain problems should be kept hush.  I’m sorry if it’s hard to read, and please don’t take it personally that I didn’t confide in you or let on before. I couldn’t. But it’s much easier for me to write things than to say them, sometimes. 

Anyway. That’s all for now but I will keep you posted as to how I’m doing and not just shut myself away anymore, it’s not good to keep it all in.

Big huge love xxx

More Shiny Newness

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Good morning my lovelies. It’s been nearly two months since my last blog, I’m so sorry. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say, it’s just that I’ve been RIDICULOUSLY busy and finding the time to write anything longer than one hundred and forty characters has been a challenge.

But here I am. It’s Saturday morning, everyone else is still asleep and I’m making the most of the opportunity to talk to you all.

 

So, last time we spoke I was on the cusp of moving. My GOD that was the most stressful thing I’ve ever done. I’m never doing it again. I have never been wound as tightly for so long  in my whole life. My usual method of believing everything will work out was stretched to its absolute limit, there was so much that could go wrong and it dragged on for so many months that I thought my head was going to fall off with the stress of it all. But it didn’t, and here we are.

We moved in at the end of June and our brand new house is absolutely gorgeous. Every time I come home I get a bit emotional at the sheer beauty of it (I know, I’m a drama queen, but it IS wonderful). I’m writing this from the study, which is the ponciest thing in the world to say, but there we are. We also have a music room, so my lovely Rock God has a whole room to be musically awesome in while I watch True Blood in the living room (SO tempted to call it the drawing room but that might be step too far…) in peace.

All three children have their own huge bedroom and we have three bathrooms. Three! It feels slightly unreal because we have moved from a house that was far too small to one that is bigger than we ever thought we would achieve. And it’s all NEW and SHINY, even after three weeks of living here. I honestly feel like I’ve won a prize. My brain has conveniently blanked out the stress of getting here and the ginormous mortgage and now I just feel all calm and lucky and full of win.

So that’s where I’m at with all that. And of course the other thing, which I haven’t really told you all much about on here, is that I’ve been sober for three entire months. Today is in  fact day ninety.  I woke up (with a  hangover) one day back in April, decided to stop smoking and drinking, and, er, did. I won’t pretend it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done, but it wasn’t as hard as I always thought.

I have composed many many blog posts regarding my ‘sobriety story’, and I’m sure I will eventually publish one, but there are so many amazing blogs out there already saying it that I haven’t felt the need to so far. I’ve been following the lovely Allie over at And Everything Afterwards, for example, and she keeps writing exactly what I wish I could.

I will just tell you, briefly, that I’ve had many eureka moments in the past three months. Discovering that hosting a party sober is MORE fun than drinking through it was one. Spreadsheeting the amount of money I haven’t spent on booze and fags was another (that one nearly made me throw up, to be fair). I spent a really long time believing that a glass of wine and a fag were tools I could use  to relax me, and I finally understand the lie behind that. So I feel a bit new and shiny myself at the moment.

I’ll come back to this and talk about it in another post another day. My family are up now, and our house is full of activity and noise and buzz which I want to go and be a part of.

Happy Saturday!

Lots of love, chums xx