Letter to my mum

This time last year I was laying next to your bed, in intensive care, being told that your kidneys have failed, your lungs were in respiratory failure and there was nothing more they could do for you.

Crying hysterically at your side as my body started going into shock to protect my heart from exploding. I couldn’t begin to image not seeing you everyday, not having you in my life for many many more years to come. I needed you. I was not ready to be without you.

The 14th of April 2017 was officially the worst day of my life. The day a piece of my heart died with you.

I miss you mum with every beat of my heart,

The pain i feel is indescribable, i hate being apart.

What i wouldn’t give to have one more hug,

One more kiss, one more moment of love.

That feeling of being safe,

Of feeling like you have a homely place.

To see your name pop up on my phone,

To hear your voice; happy, sad, angry or just for a general moan.

You never judged me,

You helped me to see,

A world of love and memories.

Always there to hold my hand,

To be my strength when i felt i was sinking in heavy wet sand.

You were my best friend,

My angel god send.

I hate life without you,

Its a lonely place without my mummy Sue.

I love you mummy with all my heart, i hope you are ok even though we are apart. i hope you have found grampy up there and aren’t causing too much chaos.

Thank you for showing me what strength and courage are and for the upmost love you gave me everyday.

You were my best friend, my pillar of strength.

I miss you deeply everyday mum!

I’ll try to keep making you proud.

I’ll take you with me on all my journeys and together we will take no shit!

I am so lucky to have had a mum like you, so caring and understanding.

You were taken from me way too soon 😦

Springing into action

A few weeks have passed since I went *under construction*, a time where I have tried to celebrate the awesome parts of myself and ignored the negativity coming from ‘A’.

Throughout the past couple of weeks I have seen a HUGE improvement within myself.

This has been as a result of a few changing elements:

  1. I went back onto medication
  2. I went back to therapy
  3. I quit my job
  4. I attended church

All massive elements that impact your life 100%, wouldn’t you agree?

Here’s my journey so far……..

1. Medication

I didn’t make this decision lightly, if you have read any of my previous posts you will remember I was on medication for a long long time and decided I was ready to come off at the start of 2016. This went smoothly and I was living a medication free life, the happiest I had ever been (even with a few moments of anxiety). My plan was to be able to manage my anxiety symptoms by myself, as they arise, and get stronger and more like Wonder Woman after every attack. (I didn’t quite master the Wonder Woman part…)

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I lost my mum very suddenly in April 2017 and for the most part of 2017 I was coping, I was surprising absolutely everyone. I was a strong machine of numbness and denial and I thought I was winning the grief battle. (hahahahahahaha as if right?)

Que New years eve 2017…..10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…….HAPPY NEW YEAR……….WAIT……WHAT………..

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!

I went crashing into 2018 with a hard hit from reality, a realisation that I wouldn’t have my mum by my side. After that everything was a massive blur of sadness, tiredness, isolation and guilt. I tried to carry on for a while but I simply wanted to die.

My unwanted hitchhiker was attacking constantly, I feared everything, I couldn’t leave the house, I couldn’t wash, I wanted to die but feared death at the same time. One Sunday evening in early February I stood in the kitchen holding a knife having visions of killing myself…Monday morning I was at the doctors.

Since then I have been battling with the side effects, one being increased anxiety, suicidal thoughts and crazy vivid dreams. I preserved and stayed strong and have finally come out the other end.

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I am on the lowest dose possible and I’m starting to feel a difference.

I know it was the right decision to make now I am here.

Why do we torture ourselves?

Why do we listen to others instead of our own bodies crying out for help?

Everyone around me was saying:
“don’t choose medication”
“it will just mask the symptoms”
“it will pass”
“just think positively”
“chin up”

….blah blah blah…..more like…………

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2. Religion

All my childhood I grew up surrounded mostly by Atheists, I knew no different. I even got dumped by a boy in school because I had no idea who Jesus was. (abit harsh I thought). My mum was Catholic and started attending church when she split up with my father but I wasn’t living with her at the time.

It was during one of the side effects of my medication – vivid horrible dreams, that I found religion. I was having a very emotional dream about my mum, she was crying and saying her goodbyes to me, telling me how proud she was of me, how she loved me and never wanted to leave me (a moment I never got when she died). In my dream I was crying my eyes out and awoke with a crash and a sob, it felt so real. Whilst dreaming I had managed to knock over my bed side table, at the time I was so emotionally raw I got out of bed to get some water. I was sobbing uncontrollably, I felt so sick. when I returned I put my bedside table back where it belonged and noticed a book had fallen out and opened up. I picked it up to discover it was my mum’s bible and it had opened up at the start of John. So i read it.

Just from reading the book of John I felt stronger, I felt as though there was hope for the first time in 12 months. I was interested to learn more so I visited my local church and have been attending bible study ever since.

I know religion isn’t for everyone, but it seems to be helping me. I ignore the remarks, the smirks and the talking behind my back from my atheist family. God has reached out to me and I welcome him into my heart.

3. Therapy

As a person I am better at helping others, I get strength from being needed and being helpful. I can listen and offer encouragement, I can guide and offer support. Easy Peasy.

I can’t however lean on others for the sake of myself. I cant reach out, I cant let others in and I keep everything close to my chest and in my head. It’s just how I am made. I have realised that although i don’t want to be a burden to anyone, not talking about what i’m going through has only set me back further, and only damaged myself more, so I decided to give counselling a go.

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It’s tough, my goodness it’s tough. The first couple of sessions I was like one of those old shaky dogs waiting outside the supermarket for its owner. It was uncomfortable and emotional and it brought horrible sensations along with it. I haven’t given up though.

I am learning techniques to be able to manage my anxiety and my grief side by side and after 8 sessions so far I am starting to see/feel a difference.

Again people around me told me:
“counselling wont help”
“it will make you feel worse”
“why would you want to talk about it?”
“it’s a waste of money”

They are right, for some people, counselling doesn’t work, makes people feel worse and wastes their money but for me? It is helping.

Did it make me feel worse to start with? Hell yes!

Did I want to talk about it? No!

It’s helping me and that’s all that matters. I choose to ignore people’s comments and opinions because they are not me and they do not know what is right for me.

We are the only people who know whats right for us. Don’t let others opinions manipulate you into not doing something you want to do.

ITS YOUR LIFE.

4. Jobless

It’s pretty scary to quit your job without another job to go to right? Most people are unhappy in their jobs and just get on with it right? Some people spend their days wishing their weeks away until the weekend right? Wrong.

If your job is making you ill you shouldn’t have to endure it just because everyone else apparently hates their jobs but they get on with it. You don’t need to pull yourself together and you certainly dont need to get a grip.

My job made me ill, I was a ball of anxiety from the minute I left the house until the minute I got home (sometimes longer…), I was constantly run down, constantly negative and I hated everyone around me. I spent hours in the toilets trying to hold it together, trying to calm anxiety attacks and get my breath back. If you can deal with that everyday and still go to work and live your life fine, then good for you. I couldn’t.

So I quit. I have re-evaluated my life and what’s important to me and realised i need to be kinder to myself, i always try to do too much and it comes crashing down. I am always way too hard on myself to prove to everyone that I can succeed. Do they even care? Probably not! So I’ve decided to look for part-time work instead, this will give me a chance to work on myself more and build myself back up to the awesome person I once was.

I will never be the “2016 happy girl” I was striving to get back, she’s gone, but I can be the “now girl”, a new and improved wonder woman machine. I cut my hair, us girls know what that means… I’m ready and serious to change my life!

Baby steps though….

One step at a time

One day at a time

I’ve spent way too long trying to prove to others I am ‘normal’ that I can succeed the way they want me to. Well screw them, not any more, I will strive to be my weird and wonderful unique self and the only success will be for me.

Who wants to be ‘normal’ anyway?!

Don’t ever let others dictate your happiness, or try to steer you away from a decision that you feel is best for you (unless that decision is life threatening!!)
Be yourself

You are unique, You are powerful, Your are beautiful

Find what feels good and stick with it.

Even if it does turn heads and start people talking….

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‘Under Construction’

Ever since I lost my dear mum, I have been striving to get back to that person, the person who had her shit together, the person who was strong,  the person who felt happiness in her life.

With Mother’s day looming, what I have finally realised is that I am being too hard on myself.

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I am never going to get back to the person I was before the loss, how can I? I have lost one of the most important people in my life, I have lost the only person who cared for me and the only person who was there for me day in day out, through good times and bad, through stupid decisions and great ideas, through the I told you so moments, through the come here have a hug and let it all out moments.

There is never going to be someone in my life whose whole existence was to take care of me, who I wanted to make proud every single day. There is never going to be someone who I love as much or who loves me unconditionally; even when I am being an utter monster.

I need to stop trying to get back to what I think is normal me, erase that idea and start building a new me.

A me I am proud of

A me that I love unconditionally

A me who will always be there for me

A me who is a survivor

A me who is a fighter (even at times I didn’t want to fight)

A me who has somehow still managed to live my life without my mum

A me who is strong (even at times when I have been my weakest)

I don’t give myself enough credit for going through such a sudden loss and still being here today.

Is my life a mess? 100%

Is my mental health shattered? 100%

Am I an emotional wreck all the time? 100%

Have I given up? NO. – I don’t give myself enough credit for that.

Have I been able to do this without the help of medication? NO – but I tried my hardest for months on end and I couldn’t function.

I know my mum would want me to take medication to pick me back up because she knows it will only be temporary, she knows I am strong, she knows I am the most stubborn MOFO to exist and will want to conquer this. I get all those amazing traits from her. Even at the end she fought so hard.

I miss my mum every single second of every waking moment, I even dream of her when I am asleep. It’s never nice dreams at the moment but I know with time it will ease, I know with time the feeling that my body is splitting into two will ease also, I just have to weather the storm.

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Last mother’s day, my mum was too unwell to celebrate it, a week later she was taken into hospital and never returned home.

So to all who are reading this, don’t wait for Mother’s day; ring your mum, go visit your mum, tell her you love her, hug her that extra second longer because one day who’ll think back to those last moments and wish you’d held on. I never got to say goodbye to my mum, I never got to tell her it was ok and that I loved her very much one last time and that will forever stay an unfinished chapter in my life.

Did my mum know I loved her? Yes, I told her all the time

Did I hug my mum one last time? Yes, but I wish I had held on longer.

I shall begin my new chapter, a chapter of me, a chapter of reconstruction.

One step at a time

One day at a time

In the words of Sylvester Stallone “Keep Punching!”

 

To my fellow readers out there, who are ‘under construction’, take your time, reconstruct yourself with love and kindness and remember to enjoy the ride.

You are awesome, you are strong, you can do this.

 

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Me, Myself & ‘A’ return

My hitchhiker and I are back….

You probably didn’t notice but….

I retreated into my shell of armor for a few weeks, everything got on top of me and ‘A’; my unwanted hitchhiker, was screaming at me constantly. There was no peace and quiet, the storm was raging on and the waves were crashing into me over and over and over again, no pause to catch my breath and straighten myself back up.

I was drowning, ‘A’ was laughing.

What use to happen was ‘A’ would become uncontrollable and I’d disappear into my shell for a few days and normally come out past the worst of it but since my mum died and I am dealing with ‘the wanker‘ grief, it seems that both of them twist me from the inside and days turn into weeks, where I am retreating and hibernating.

This time it became unbearable because I couldn’t function. I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t leave the house and I couldn’t live like a human being. (I was more like a Duracell bunny that had run its batteries low and was just twitching on the same spot until eventually the battery died completely.)

I think the trigger for me was the night I was planning on going out for food with my friend. It had been planned for weeks and I was dreading it. When my friend got here I put on my war paint and pretended I was fine, ignored the knot in my stomach and tried to act like an acceptable human being. (One of the first signs of anxiety for me is going cold and I was shivery cold that night.)

We stepped outside and ‘A’ started attacking, I had a very bad anxiety attack which I couldn’t control and completely freaked my friend out.

She couldn’t understand what was happening to me.

She kept telling me:

“SNAP OUT OF IT!!!

She kept yelling at me:

“YOU’RE BEING STUPID!!”

“ACT YOUR AGE!”

“YOU ARE INSANE!!!!”

I tried to explain it’s ‘A’, my anxiety.

She called me:

“A LIAR…”

“A COWARD…”

She kept repeating that I should just tell the truth, if I didn’t want to go out I should of cancelled, that I don’t need to make up lies about anxiety when I was fine to go out for a meal before Christmas and am perfectly fine now…

(I was completely broken, infront of her, crying, shaking, hyperventilating. I was like one of those old shakey dogs you see sitting outside a supermarket waiting for its owner)

I was telling the truth, for the first time, I was telling someone the truth and I was called a liar for it.

How many times have you cancelled on someone because your anxiety has been too bad?

I didn’t want to let my friend down, I wanted to try and beat ‘A’ but I failed.

Now normally no one would have seen that anxiety attack and I would have been able to keep it on the inside, but the grief doesn’t allowed me to conceal any feelings anymore, it smashes down my walls and allows the flood gates to open.

My friend left me in the peak of my anxiety attack; I crawled into bed with a hot water bottle, turned my phone off and cried until I passed out.

It was a week later that my sister turned up at my home, seven days without any communication with the outside world, seven days of crying, self hatred and lack of nutrients. (This was very new to me because in the past, no matter how crappy I felt I always had to keep going because my mum needed me, without this need I had no strength or desire to fight it.)

On day 8 I was taken to see a psychiatrist and put back on medication, ever since that day I’ve been riding the side effects rollercoaster.

I didn’t want this day to come, especially after being strong and able enough to come off tablets completely in 2016 but I have to be kind to myself and understand I am dealing with a great big loss and sometimes extra help is required.

It’s not forever; it’s just for the now.

One week into my new medication I was having a horrible, vivid nightmare. I must have been moving around in my sleep quite spectacularly as I managed to push over my bedside table, which woke me up from my nightmare. After getting up, picking up the bedside table, grabbing some water and heading back to bed, I noticed a book had fallen out of the draw and had landed open on the floor. I picked it up to reveal it was my mum’s bible and it had opened onto the book of John. I read it, not once but twice, I don’t know how or why but the gospel gave me a small glimmer of hope and so much strength and since that day I have started to gain mental strength bit by bit. Every day is still a test but I am rebuilding my resilience once again, in my own time and at a pace I can manage using the bible as my guide.

I don’t know whether it was the Lord himself, my mum or sheer luck but someone wanted me to pick up the bible and seek guidance from it and that’s exactly what I am doing.

So here I am on this new path, hopefully I will lose my hitchhiker on the way…I definitely lost a friend.

Remembing to breathe, take each moment as it comes and keep fighting!

When everything overwhelms you, what’s your coping mechanism?

Do you also find strength from the bible? Send me your favourite passages 🙂

All aboard the ‘A’ train

What do you do when the one person you loved unconditionally, always relied on and was always there for you leaves?

I don’t mean like…okay bye…have a nice life…ill probably get drunk and call you later kind of leaving.

I mean their soul leaves and their body stops.

• You cant get drunk and call them later
• You cant go stake out their house in the hope of a glimpse or restraining order
• You can’t accidently (on purpose) bump into them at the gym looking all awesome in your super tight pants
• You can’t text them and watch them read it and ignore you still (but at least they read it right?)
• You can’t cling on to the hope that one day it might all work out and you’ll live happily ever after with 3 dogs and a Jacuzzi in the back yard.

Instead you are faced with the crippling reality that they are gone forever.

• No more hello’s
• No more goodbye’s
• No more I love you
• No more tomorrow’s
• No more memories
• No more hugs

The only blanket around you for comfort is called the ‘what if wanker’, who rears its ugly head in moments of vulnerability. Moments that are inappropriate or at times when you are completely alone.

Those mundane moments that you’ve done every day without thought are now like your riding a really high rollercoaster up and down this what if wanker.
Just when you feel you cant hold on any longer and you cant breathe in any more air without combusting, you coast over the peak and drop vertically. Your body straining as a tornado starts to form, you hit the rocky bottom raising a massive tidal wave that crashes through your eyes and down your cheeks; Overwhelming your entire body and mind with no courtesy that your in a public place or trying to sleep.

Before you can compose yourself, you’re back on the incline of the next what if wanker…struggling to cope, desperate to breathe, fearing for your life.

Over and over and over again.

No control, Relentless, Ruthless

There’s no exit off this ride, this is your life now.

• How do you cope?

Well my first plan was to bottle it up and sell it off cheap to the nearest sucker…….until I ran out of bottles……. stupid bottles…….

What I was faced with then was 6 months worth of bottled emotion all overflowing out of me without any control.

No amount of beavers could help me.
Niagara falls had new competition.

My once strong foundations were riddled with termites and buckling under the pressure, desperate to pour out. People started returning the cheap bottles and I was surrounded by bottles and bottles of emotions.

Nowhere to turn without seeing bottled emotion
No release
Too much pressure
Lots of pain

What happens to anything that’s put under extreme pressures for a long time?

Yes, it breaks.

Safe to say I shattered into a million pieces.

So here I am in a million pieces scattered everywhere on the ground, my only option is to find small bits of me each day (before the ants runaway with my best bits) and start rebuilding myself.

Piece by piece, Step by step, Day by day.

The what if wankers will come, they will overwhelm me and they will hurt me but I must try to let go and allow the ride to pass.

Ignoring what people will think of me when I’m overwhelmed and overcome with the grief in a random place.

To the women in the supermarket who turned down aisle 3 to see a broken girl crying at a tube of toothpaste, I saw you. I saw you see me, freeze and quickly turn around and walk the other way. I don’t care that you thought I was a crazy person.

Do you know me? Do you know what I’m going through? Did you bother to take 30 seconds out if your day to ask if I was ok?

Noit’s okay I would have told you I was fine anyway.

To the leaf (yes, from a tree) that blew past me in the dark that made me jump, which resulted in an arm swing, that knocked a cyclist off his bike, thanks for snapping me out of a bad gripping memory.
To the cyclist who got angry with me when I apologised and explained a leaf scared me.

Do you know me? Do you have any idea what I’m going through to jump over a blowing leaf in the wind? Did you bother to check if I was ok?

Nobut its okay I would of said I was fine anyway.

To anyone out there riding the rollercoaster of grief, let it come and go. It’s the only advice I can give.

My theory is the more I can allow my rollercoaster to take me through this ride, the more strength I’ll gain from every turn.

Eventually building up a tolerance so that the incline doesn’t take all my breath away and the drop doesn’t shatter me quite so hard. (I’m using super powered glue to stick myself back together)

No matter what part of my ride I am on, I will always be there to ask:

Are you ok?

That’s what makes the broken so beautiful, not just on the outside but inside to. We understand.

I can’t speak for any of you but I see the world a lot differently now.

I feel the fresh air on the face, I taste the rain and I watch the nature and people around me pass by.

My perspective on life has changed.

P.s – I knew there was a reason why I never liked rollercoasters…..

The hitchhiker’s journey continues

I’ve been fairly quiet in life, not just on my blog but in all aspects. I have continued to retreat and lick my wounds whilst ‘A’ takes more victims inside of me. (‘A’ has now taken over the part of me that didn’t fear venturing outside)

‘A’s sidekick grief has been quiet, I’m not sure whether they split up to cover more ground and grief got lost. (Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, I hope the ugly thing stays lost forever). I’m also not stupid and know that it’s probably morphed into a bigger predator and is stalking me silently, awaiting the perfect moment to spring back onto me.

I’m currently not an early bird or a night owl instead I am a permanently exhausted pigeon.

If they cut my brain open they would find it filled with jelly and blancmange.

I’ve made a pact with myself though, tomorrow is a new week and aslong as the Vikings (NFL) win (probably even if they don’t but I’ll be less enthusiastic) I will be getting up early every day and starting my yoga regime.

‘A’s bodyguard depression is kicking my arse and it’s about time I started to fight back. (At least then I can be a ripped exhausted pigeon!)

It’s so hard to motivate myself to get going when I already feel I’ve run a 7 day marathon in my mind.

  • Anyone have any tips?

I’m either a dribbling tired mess or an irritated grumpy crab at the moment. I have no tolerance for life.

For example……..

Last week my laptop decided to go at a snail’s pace when starting up (this irritated me), then Windows spent an HOUR doing updates (bloods boiling by now) to then be welcomed by the blue screen of death (patience meter explodes). I tried EVERYTHING to recover it but in the end I lost my temper and launched it out of my top floor window (yes you read that right…insert eye rolling emoji here).

I then spent ages researching a replacement to find that the one I want is sold out in the entire universe so I retreated back into my shell and gave up.

Why are small tasks that should be easy such hard work?! Urgh!

When my sister asked where my laptop was the other day I calmly told her I’d thrown it out the upstairs window (then proceeded off the subject and offered her a cup of tea as if it was an extremely normal thing to do) her face was a Kodak moment and actually made me smile (inside). That aside it also alerted me to the fact that it wasn’t a normal thing to do ‘re-enforcing my self hate. (‘A’ revels in these moments!)

Commence mantra and march on…

  • Keep fighting
  • Keep moving forward
  • I can do this
  • I will do this
  • ‘A’ WONT keep me down

(One day I’ll start to believe this…until that time I’ll keep repeating it to myself…)

P.s VIKINGS, VIKINGS, VIKINGS, VIKINGS!!!

‘A’ charges as I retreat

The past couple of weeks have been tough for me and my battle to win over my hitch hiker. (It’s being very hormonal!)

I seem to have fallen into a very deep trough of worry, pain, fear, guilt and insomnia. (Someone please throw me some rope?)

Christmas was tough but I knew it would be I was armed for it with energy reserves, grenades and weapons at the ready. 💣💥💪

What I wasn’t expecting was that going into 2018 would bring me such pain. Without any resources left to surge forward from, I feel like I am drowning in mud right now. (Think mud in an eternal bog of stench)

It’s been a very long time since I felt such exhaustion; even when my mum left me I had some fight in me to battle on.

Right now?

Right now I feel completely defeated simply from going into 2018 without my mum.

I’m just hoping something will click back into place soon and I’ll pick myself up. 🙏🤞 (Will accept being picked up…)

It’s so hard to digest because I feel like I am broken into 3 separate pieces, all clawing for my attention. (Not like a cute puppy, more like a pissed off wasp)

Piece 1questioning life, not wanting it. My own mind giving me ideas on how to end it

Piece 2 petrified that I will die too soon, petrified to leave the house for fear I catch this deadly flu going around.

I am weak, I won’t survive it, I want to survive, I need to live my life

Piece 3telling me that others have it worse than me and I’m being completely self centred.

  • How can I have such conflicting parts in me?
  • How can I hate feeling so lonely but have no desire to change it?
  • Why won’t ‘A’ let me sleep when I am exhausted?
  • Why is shit so hard? 😭
  • Why can’t I pull myself out of this?
  • Maybe I can’t do this without medication?
  • Maybe I’m not as strong as I thought I was?

Oh ‘A’ doesn’t just have her bodyguard grief, (oh no that wouldn’t be as much fun) it brings along that annoying friend who no-one likes called SELF DOUBT.

‘A’ is charging forward with it’s best soldiers and I’m just curled up in a ball bracing myself for impact. (Every now and again throwing a limb out in hope I hit something)

I had a counselling session over the phone this week and my counsellor thinks that the reality of going into this year without my mum by my side has finally hit me and I am now feeling the grief.

To be honest I was hoping I’d just skipped the majority of it. I had some terrible days in 2017 and the flashbacks have been the worst part but they were days separated by days I could handle – this is constant.

I forced myself to the supermarket on Wednesday and whilst looking at toothpaste (toothpaste!!!), I had a flashback in the middle of the aisle of brushing my mum’s teeth in the hospital and how thankful she looked at me. I literally froze in the aisle for some time, managed to keep it together walking back to my house and as I walked through my front door I simply dropped down to the floor. I couldn’t control the sobs and of course ‘A’ came out to play. (Bitch)

  • Why can’t I have the constant numbness and denial I felt when my grampy left me?
  • Why has it taken me 8 months to feel this pain?
  • If you’ve experienced a loss, how did you survive it? 😦

I’m literally waving 77 white flags at ‘A’, her bodyguard grief and sidekick self doubt. Hoping that for once they are kind on me. (I won’t hold my breath, I know how sadistic ‘A’ can be.) 🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳🏳

I’m taking advice from memes in hope I gain some strength from them.

I’ll keep trying to survive, might just set up camp under my duvet and master human hibernation……………………wish me luck.

When ‘A’ met Grief (Part 2)

This blog post continues on from When ‘A’ met Grief (Part 1)

In the previous post I wrote about my experience of grief from losing my grampy, that it took a whooping 8 years to finally accept it.

The extract at the end of the blog was:

I had two years after that of some normality and at the end of 2015 I had convinced myself that the asshole hitch hiker was a result of not accepting or acknowledging the loss of my grampy and against the doctors wishes I came off my bipolar medication.

Against the doctors wishes meant that if I came off my medication I gave up the help, the support of the mental health team and I was on my own. My mentality at the time was screw them and screw the asshole hitch hiker. I felt it was safe to be able feel again.

Queue the return of ‘A’….drumroll please…

‘A’ came back, pissed I’d disrupted its vacation time but I could manage it. I started Yoga and meditation to become more mindful and it helped. The meditation side was a lot harder to master because my mind was always racing but I did 10 minutes everyday and persevered. Eventually I was finding I could sit for 20 minutes with a peaceful mind allowing my thoughts to come and go.

After 9 months of Yoga and meditation I felt a lot stronger in my mind and body, I was starting to feel in control. I even travelled to California by myself which was the biggest achievement to date. I was smashing ‘A’s ass hard!!

Jan 2017 saw me starting a new job, one I was excited about, one that would kick-start my long-awaited career.

I was finally in a good place.

March 30th 2017 was when it all came down with an almighty bang.

Every day before and after work I would visit my mum; I’d do anything she required, make her breakfast, sort her medication out, make her dinner, monitor her drinking and make sure she washed.

My mum was in her 10th year of battling alcohol addiction, it was at the stage now where she didn’t even enjoy drinking but had to because without the alcohol her body hurt, her mind tormented her and the withdrawals were too intense. She had been to rehab 5 times; 3 times forced by me and 2 times at her own will but the demons in her mind would always win because withdrawals were tough on her. She was awaiting her 6th rehab visit but there was a waiting list; I felt like this would be the last time, that she was ready to conquer it, she seemed different and more determined.

On March 30th I went round as usual in the morning but my mum didn’t look very well, extremely pale, very confused, and was in pain so I rang an ambulance and we were taken into hospital with sirens on. (I remember feeling excitement at this moment, what an adventure we could laugh about at a later date)

She was diagnosed with a water infection and started treatment alongside a detox due to her withdrawals.

‘A’ brought out the attacks with force, it felt like if i let go and succumbed to the pressure that an almighty attack was there waiting. I was always tinkering on the edge of an ‘A’ attack, it was waiting in the wings for an opening to present itself.

Of course the many years of masking this hitch hiker I was an expert in hiding it. I was the only one that could ever make my mum laugh; we seemed to get each other and were very similar. I stayed by her side every single day and hid the pain my hitch hiker was causing from my mum. We even had a few giggles and I saw my mum smile.

In reality though I was struggling.

I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t relax

Every new day the only goal I had been to get through it, win that daily battle and not worry about the next until I was faced with it.

Over the course of 5 days she started to get better, back to herself again. I went home on the fifth night for a shower (my mum forced me, said I needed it!), it was the first time I had left my mum’s side in 5 whole days. (I remember walking back to my car with a smile on my face: everything was going to be fine)

However,

On day 6 I woke to see my mum had started having breathing difficulties, this escalated extremely quickly and by day 7 my mum was diagnosed with pneumonia.

My mum was allergic to Penicillin and because she wasn’t well enough to answer for herself so I had to decide between:

  • Trying an alternative medicine to fight the pneumonia which my mum wasn’t allergic to but may not act fast enough
  • Give my mum Penicillin which would fight the pneumonia but could potential cause my mum further harm and ill-health

My mum was severly allergic to Penicillin which meant she could potentially go into anaphylactic shock so it was a no brainer for me to try the other medicine.

The alternative medicine wasn’t acting fast enough and the doctors were talking about intensive care; putting my mum to sleep for a while so her lungs could repair but my mum begged me not to let the doctors take her there because she wouldn’t wake up from it.

At this point my other sisters were in the hospital visiting which was helpful because every 5 minutes I had to leave the room to control ‘A’, at one point I even had to have oxygen because the attack had started to aggravate my asthma. I remember feeling annoyed because i would leave to get ‘A’ under control and my mum would ask one of my sisters where I was.

I hate myself for feeling agitated that she needed me.

This also started a feud between myself and my oldest sister, she barely saw my mum, infact, at that point in time the last time she had seen my mum was Boxing day 2016. (26th December)

I stayed by her side that night, the nurses wouldn’t dare to kick me out to the relative room. This made ‘A’ taunt me; did they already know she was going to die?

‘A’ was constantly pumping adrenaline into my system with the mini relentless attacks so I was wired anyway and unlikely to sleep. My heart was constantly racing and the amount I perspired wasn’t human. (Even my butt cheeks sweat, whose butt cheeks sweat?) It was crazy.

My mum fought so hard to breathe, I prayed so hard that night. My mum was trying with all her might to keep breathing. I was so proud of her.

She would fight this.

The next morning my mum went into respiratory failure and was taken to the intensive care unit. This time it wasn’t a choice, it was life or death.

The next 5 days I sat by her bed all day and night while a machine breathed for her. I talked to her, told her about Oscar (her beloved dog), I told her jokes, sang to her, played her music and held her hand. Sometimes her eyes would twitch and I knew she could hear me.

The doctors would continuously ask me about my mum’s health prior to this infection, they couldn’t understand why she wasn’t getting better. (I didn’t tell them about the 10 year battle with alcohol or the constant ill-health she suffered because I wanted them to keep trying, afraid if they knew that they would give up)

April 14th, 2017 (Does the date ring a bell to you? Apart from it being Good Friday, it was the same date 10 years ago that my grampy died. SAME DATE!)

The doctor sat me and my younger sister down and told us that there was no more they could do for my mum, her kidneys and liver had now failed. We had to turn the machines off.

I didn’t get to say goodbye, I didn’t get to say I love you I more time.

Now if I had been alone at this news I would have dealt with it better but my younger sister was hysterical crying, which allowed ‘A’ to creep through and I had one of the worst attacks id ever had. So bad infact that I thought I was going to die myself and I ran, before I realised it I was running down the stairs, through the hospital and into the fresh air before collapsing onto a patch of grass and violently throwing up my insides.

At around 5pm on 14th April I watched my mum take her final breaths surrounded by her daughters and brother and then I lay my head on her chest for the next 5 hours until they took her to the mortuary. I went over and over what had happened, feeling like I had failed her, feeling like I could have done more.

Why didn’t’ I just take her to the doctors for the water infection? She wouldn’t have caught pneumonia from the hospital then.

Its my fault she had died like this.

I don’t remember to this day when everyone left, I don’t really remember the 5 hours by her bedside just when the nurse interrupted me to say they had to take my mum away. I then walked home at 1030pm from the hospital; even though I had driven.

My mum died 14th April 2017 around 5pm – the exact same time and date as my grampy.

To this day that blows my mind.

So here I am in the cycle of grief again. This time its different.

The next couple of weeks I was possessed with something, I had this strength from somewhere. I organised the funeral, I organised all my mum’s affairs and I made sure everyone was ok. On the day of the funeral I stood up and read a poem I had written about my mum, I never cried.

After the funeral my dad (who I wasn’t particularly close with) came up to me and hugged me, for what seemed like a lifetime. He told me how proud he was of me, that to him I was the weakest daughter mentally and physically but somehow I had become the strongest and was holding everyone together. He thanked me for writing such a beautiful poem about mum and keeping everyone strong.

Everyone was thanking me, I didn’t understand it. I wasn’t doing it for them, I was doing it for my mum. I didn’t want any thanks.

Two days after the funeral I was sacked from my job, I hadn’t been back yet and they felt I wouldn’t be back for some time and felt it best to let me go. (Thanks a bunch!)

I had lost my mum, my routine and now my job.

So since then I have literally been surviving, day by day, with ‘A’. The doctors constantly trying to put me back on medication but I refuse. ‘A’ is crippling me but I want to beat it.

What better way that in a place of complete defeat? I couldn’t break any further.

Eventually the strength disappeared and I pleaded for the numbness like with my grampy but I didn’t get it. What I did get though instead was crippling flashbacks when I least expected them, moments replayed in my dreams over and over again, night sweats, night ‘A’ attacks and completely uncontrollable emotional outbursts.

By day I felt physically sick, exhausted, random outbursts of extreme emotion and constantly fearing I was going to die from something. The tiniest thing could make me either want to kill someone or cry uncontrollably.

By night my heart would race, I would sweat everywhere, id had flashbacks and horrible dreams and I would sob my heart out until I was sick.

Everyday through the sickness, the headaches and the extreme exhaustion I would force myself out of bed and do some Yoga and then walk to my youngest sisters house to see her.

The days I’d think I had a handle on it finally then like a wave in the sea it would all coming crashing into me again, harder than before. It would suck the life and strength out of me.

I’d pretty much given up, ‘A’ had convinced me I was going to die soon anyway so there was no point in trying. I was ready.

Then just like before with ‘A’ when I was younger, something clicked in me and I found some inner strength. I got a new job.

The job has been hard, everyday is an uphill battle to even get to work, then I have to tolerate people who irritate me, have to pretend I am normal (and without my hitch hiker) and try to act as if I care. I don’t care, I am constantly tinkering on the edge with ‘A’.

Christmas hit me hard, my younger sister went away for it and I was left here alone. I put a brave face on through video chats but I felt dead inside. I rang in sick for the first week back in work and I cant bare to go back, almost at the mindset of quitting. ‘A’ is winning the battle, day by day and this job has worn me further down than when I was unemployed.

I don’t want to go through another 8 years of my life not committing to anything again, feeling detached and isolated but I don’t feel strong at the moment, I feel like I’ve gone backwards. The flash backs are back, the lack of sleep and the emotional outbursts.

I guess it would appear I missed out on skipping the different stages with my grampy that this time I’m being taken through every stage several times a day. (Except numbness and denial which seem like the jackpot right now!)

Loss, hurt, emotional outbursts, anger, fear, fear, fear, fear, emotional outbursts, hurt, disorganisation, guilt, guilt, fear, guilt, guilt, fear, emotional outbursts, hurt, loneliness, isolation, isolation, isolation, loneliness, guilt, fear, fear, fear, anger, guilt, loss, emotional outbursts, depression.

My grampy use to always say “When nothing goes right…go left”

  • Maybe I should go left?

Quit everything from 2017 and start a new life in 2018.

Me and ‘A’

Change is good right? (or should that be left?)A’ doesn’t think so….

When ‘A’ met Grief (Part 1)

I have had quite a few face offs in my life already between grief and my hitch hiker ‘A’.

I know that its a right of passage as you get older that people will pass away and leave you.

Grief is associated with losing something or someone where a bond or affection has been formed.

You can grieve for many different reasons and because of this you can not define grief in one way.

I’ve felt grief when every single one of my hamsters, rabbits and guinea pigs died (there were alot!)

I’ve felt grief at the end of a relationship. I always struggle with the concept of relationships. You give yourself to someone, you are in eachother’s lives everyday, you share affection (and bodily fluids) and you trust them then one day – GONE (there haven’t been alot of these!)

The first time ‘A’ met the loss of a parent it buggered off on a long vacation and the asshole hitch hiker was sent in ‘A’s place. (The Affair )

The second time ‘A’ met the loss of a parent it brought reinforcements and went kamikaze on my ass and the only option I had was to surrender. (Current situation)

The doctors have recommended I have bereavement counselling, that there was a 3 month waiting list however I have been on the list since April 2017 and the last time I chased it up I was number 23 in the queue so I should get seen around April 2018. (I find this absolutely unacceptable)

My grampy died of lung cancer when I was 20 years old; up until that point in my life the only people I could depend on were my grampy and my mum so this was a hard time for me. (My previous blog post The Affair touches on this)

My grampy got diagnosed in the November but we quickly found out it was very aggressive and chemotherapy wouldn’t help, it was simply about quality of life now. Looking back I never asked or was told how long my grampy had left, he would say he would fight it and not to worry and I would believe him.

My grampy had never let me down in the past.

I trusted him 100%.

Sadly by the following April he had got a lot worse and everyone was saying there goodbyes. (I wont share what our goodbye was because its a personal, precious memory between myself and my grampy)

On April 14th at around 5pm my grampy passed away surrounded by all his children and me. He wasn’t dead for more than 10 minutes before the witches were stripping him of his jewellery. (A gold necklace that I had handmade a ‘D’ on, a gold wedding ring and a gold ring with the initial ‘D’ on it)

Stage 1 – Shock & Denial

I feel like I set up camp in this phase for 6 years. My asshole hitchhiker joined me and ‘A’ went off on vacation. I felt numb and detached and that was my personality for over 6 years. I felt a lot of fear about how I would cope or survive without my grampy’s hugs and strength. I felt weak. There was definitely no normal functioning in this stage.

Stage 2 – Anger

Zero time in this stage. ‘A’ had disappeared completely and I never felt an ounce of anger.

Stage 3 – Depression & Detachment

This is another stage I camped out in, my neighbour was stage 1 and I literally moved from stage 1 to stage 3 to stage 1 back to stage 3 over and over and over for at least 6 years. I was numb, tired and lacked any sort of enjoyment or happiness throughout that time. I was medicated and treated for Anorexia and Bipolar at the same time I was flitting between these two stages.

Stage 4 – Dialogue & Bargaining

I never met this stage until 6 years later.

I never reached out to others, I never told my story (anyone new I met over the 6 years I would talk about my grampy as if he was still alive) until I met a guy at the end of the 6 year battle and for some reason I told him about my grampy. That was the first year in 6 years I visited my grampys grave, I spent the 14th April visiting my grampy’s favourite places with this guy telling him about the memories and every year thereafter we did that.

Stage 5 – Acceptance

I owe a whole lot to my boyfriend throughout that time because if it wasn’t for him I would probably still be in denial about my grampy’s death. After another 2 years something lifted in me and I felt I accepted that my grampy was gone finally.

8 WHOLE YEARS?!?!(WTF!!!!)

Throughout that time I was never treated for bereavement because I had a whole different mess of disasters stirring inside of me. The anorexia, the body dysmorphia and the bipolar. The asshole hitch hiker really did a number on me.

I had two years after that of some normality and at the end of 2015 I had convinced myself that the asshole hitch hiker was a result of not accepting or acknowledging the loss of my grampy and against the doctors wishes I came off my bipolar medication.

Against the doctors wishes meant that if I came off my medication I gave up the help, the support of the mental health team and I was on my own. My mentality at the time was screw them and screw the asshole hitch hiker. I felt it was safe to be able feel again.

Queue the return of ‘A’…drumroll please…

Me, Myself & ‘A’

Happy New Year.

I must of said this like 15 times over the last day and everytime I’ve said it I’ve struggled with the ‘Happy’, it regurgitates inside of me.

I went into 2017 very optimistic, having experienced a pretty difficult, whirlwind 2016; It had some crazy low points but some absolutely breath taking highs too.

I had HOPE, I had POSITIVITY, I had STRENGTH.

I was 100% ready to make 2017 the best year I’d ever had.

Little did I know on Jan 1, 2017 that it was going to be the hardest year of my life to date.

Little did I know that mid way through the year would I be at full war world 3 with my hitch hiker ‘A’, the asshole hitch hiker who isn’t worthy of a name (I haven’t published my post on it yet) and a newcomer.

In Jan 2017 I was starting a new job. First job I’d been excited to actually get. I couldn’t believe I got it and they were excited to have me.

ME? Runt of the litter, damaged goods…

I broke up with my boyfriend of four years in 2016 and decided because I had nothing else; no friends and only two people I classed as family (mum and sister), that I would finally throw myself into committing to a career and becoming successful. (Came off my medication end of 2015 so I wasn’t numb or brain fucked anymore…)

For three whole months I was excelling and loving my job and finally felt some happiness after years of feeling like a numb failure.

In April, very suddenly, my mum died. I stood and watched her take her final breaths

  • without the opportunity to say goodbye
  • without the opportunity to tell her I loved her one more time
  • without that last hug where you hold on even longer
  • without achieving something and making her proud of me

I spent the last 10 years looking after my mum in everyway. My life evolved around trying to make my mum happy and she was gone.

I had nothing. I was no-one.

Que the return of ‘A’, the asshole and the newcomer….

Two days after my mum’s funeral I got sacked from my job. I was suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (the new comer) and they didn’t want me anymore.

The doctors tried to put me back on medication; the flashbacks were crippling me, the anxiety had imprisoned me and the depression had formed a warm blanket around my grief riddled frame. 16 months without medicatiom and I didn’t want to go backwards, i didnt want to be numb.

I wanted to feel every ounce of the pain.

I was prescribed a sedative instead and for the next 5 months I slept and cried myself threw everyday. I had no-one checking up on me so I hid away from the world.

Giving up. Giving in. Retreating.

‘A’ was back in the driving seat, the passenger who directed ‘A’ was grief and I was tied up and gagged in the boot being tormented by PTSD.

I had no money and funeral bills to pay, i was about the lose everything including my home and then something in me clicked…

I got up, i flushed the sedatives and i washed the last 5 months off.

I got a new job. I suddenly didn’t want to lose my home and only source of security so I dug deep and pulled every reserve to the surface.

The mask was on, the ice queen activated.

I went through the motions everyday in this new job either a ball of horrendous anxiety or uncontrollably emotional. Everyday once I was home and safe I praised myself for making it threw another day. Thanking my mum for being by my side.

I now don’t want to go back, I feel nothing for this line of work anymore. I used to love it but it’s so hard to pretend you are ok, pretend you care about your work. I don’t anymore and it’s exhausting.

I feel lost, lonely and afraid

What’s the best thing I did in 2017?

SURVIVED

I’ve spent the majority of the year crying. I miss my mum terribly and the thought of 2018 without her makes me feel sick.

Every New Year I always had hope that the year would be great, I would achieve my goals, I would feel happiness.

This year I don’t feel that, I am petrified of 2018. I have no idea what the year has planned for me.

I stand before you – HOPELESS.

On my knees, begging for 2018’s mercy, pleading with ‘A’ to be kind.

My strength is depleted, I have zero resources for another hard year.

The only power I have is my mind. I used to think it was my weakest point, that one day I would crack and break. I should have broke in 2017 but something held me together when everything else was falling apart.

  • What if I am falling apart now?

I am a completely different person going into 2018 than I was going into any other year.

I am a survivor.

I’m still fighting through my biggest ‘A’ war yet without any long term medication. (I did use sedatives to avoid what felt like a heart attack and sweat attack all day long! Seriously I’ve never sweated so much, not just my armpits either. Bum cheeks, behind the knees…you name it I sweat from it!!!)

If I can survive this ongoing war, I can survive 2018, right?

All I know is I won’t go down without a fight.

I will continue to stay as strong as I can and make my mum proud.

What’s my goal for 2018?

SURVIVE

I can’t ask anymore of myself.

  • One breath at a time
  • One step at a time
  • One day at a time

I feel like I am at a crossroads and I have absolutely no idea which road to take.

  • Carry on day the same road that I am surviving? It’s familiar I know i can do it.
  • Take a risk, go a different route, re-invent myself?

One thing I do know? ‘A’ won’t be driving, whichever road I take.

Send me prayers (or maybe weapons)….im going to need them!

Goodluck on your 2018 journeys.