M-I-A

Apologies , these last few months I’ve been MIA .

A lot has happened . 

Starting off I’ve developed a food allergy again . I’m now extremely allergic to milk . Which is a bit of a pain as most foods contain milk . 

I’ve been veggie since I was 13 , so I’ve now had to go vegan . Not that I have anything against the vegan diet , it’s just difficult when you don’t know much about it and have no choice but to take it up . 

I was however a fake vegan , as I wasn’t fussy if food had egg in it . Until the last few weeks where I now also have an allergy to egg ! 

There is a plus side of this diet . As I mentioned in previous blogs , I was on all natural medications . I didn’t take the steroids my gastro gave me and researched natural alternatives instead . I was on cumin and CBD oil . 

I saw my gastro a few weeks ago and he can’t believe it . I’m in remission !! Although he was concerned about the “flare ups” . Until I mentioned my milk allergy . 

My gp has been refusing to send me for allergy tests and just said to eliminate the foods . However , as it’s so severe it can become life threatening , so my gastro has now demanded an allergy test be done . I’m still waiting for that . 

I’ve also lost 1 stone 4lbs in 3 months , without even trying to . This hasn’t happened in 8 years !! 

On top of it all , earlier this month I lost my Uncle . My Aunty found him dead in bed . He was fit and healthy as far as we all knew . Turns out all the arteries to the heart were clogged and he basically walked upstairs after having breakfast , sat down on the bed and died instantly . 

It’s been hell in all honesty . 

We are all taking it in turns to stay with my Aunty as she’s not well herself . 

We are also all still , very much in shock . 

My father more so as he was the first one there to do CPR . My Uncle was his best friend . He worked for about 20 mins before the first responders came , then took it in turns with them to keep going . He even still kept trying once the paramedics got there . So you can imagine what he must be going through 😦 

I did go to see my Uncle in the chapel of rest . First time I’ve ever seen someone like that . But it was peaceful . He looked like he was going to wake up any second , do his usual snort like he did so often in his chair , and go “Uhh I wasn’t sleeping” . If only πŸ–€

There is something that made us all a little happier , if you can be happy at all in this situation . Before he passed , he had the grandchildren down from London for a week . It was a trial to see if they would stay with them for a while so they could have little holidays in Wales . The grandchildren adored my Aunty and Uncle . 

Then the weekend before he passed , he had my Nieces and Nephew over for a party for my Aunty , she had recently turned 60 but they couldn’t make her original party so they held one just for them . Myself and family went too . It was fab ! My Uncle made sure they were full on good food and then spoiled them rotten , as he always did with children , cake and Ice cream with the chocolate mint wafers . YUM ! And not forgetting the crisps and pop ! 

My Uncle was a sucker when it came to kids . They seemed to bring out the child in him πŸ™‚ He did the same for me when I was a kid too . 

So basically , we figured out , he had his goodbyes . Everything had fallen into place . It’s something we can take some comfort in . 

His funeral was a lovely send off . The church was full . People had so much to say about him , all good . My Aunty wanted to celebrate his life and that’s exactly what we did . 

The song she chose to play him out in the church was from Dirty Dancing . The Time Of My Life . 

https://youtu.be/WpmILPAcRQo

Because my Uncle loved to dance ! 

I’ll never forget him grabbing me at my engagement party and making me dance . I can’t dance at all so he put me on his feet , like you do with a child , and made me dance with him for a while . I only got up to go to the bar , and I ended up dancing at my party . But that’s the kind of man he was . He was a loving , fun , gentle man . You could always rely on him and nothing was ever too big . He’s helped me out so many times over the years , I can’t thank him enough for everything he has done . 

I’ve had a few tears , but not enough . I feel like I really need to cry and scream and blame someone . But I can’t .  I think it’s shock . Even writing this , I’m crying a bit but no where near as much as I need to . I just cannot believe I won’t be seeing him in this life again . It’s heart breaking . 

It’s safe to say , this world has lost a fantastic man , and life will never be the same again . 

I truly hate September .  Last year I lost 2 close friends and now this year my Uncle . 

These last 7 years have been hell for my family , and I’m sick and tired of life always taking from us . 

Next year , I’m 30 . I’m not sitting back waiting for something else to happen , I’m grabbing 2018 by the balls and I’m living . Because one this I have learnt the hard way is , life is cruel and it’s selfish . It takes and takes and will drain you of everything if you let it . It’s taken enough from me now , it’s my turn to take something back . 

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Chronic illness and fatigue

If you suffer with chronic illness , you’ll know that owning an alarm clock is a waste of money . You’ll hear it going off , but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll wake up . 

You’ll also be very familiar with the snide remarks / “jokes” people make .

“I wish I had time to take a nap” .

“Everyone gets tired , you just have to push through it” .

Having chronic illnesses almost always means you don’t have a good , if any , sleep pattern . 

The usual 8 hours sleep everyone gets seems like heaven and you always hope that one day , you will get that glorious , golden 8 hours , of uninterrupted sleep for yourself . 

The thing is , no one truly understands it until they go through it themselves . I didn’t .  I’m 28 and 11 years ago I was your ‘normal’ , every day person who could get up and go . Party all night and work all day . Get a few hours sleep and I was raring to go again ! I never understood how people could be so slow or always sleeping or never go out . I loved life and nothing could hold me back . 

Then , I had my accident and life spiralled . I then started to understand why people couldn’t do things .

Normal everyday life is a chore . 

For me , I suffer with broken discs in my lower spine , hip and knee problems . (Along with so much more) . So from the minute I get up , I’m struggling . 

Getting dressed used to take minutes , now it’s 30 minutes or more . 

Bending , hurts . 

Getting up , hurts . 

Sitting down , hurts . 

I feel like I’m stuck in a 90 year olds body . 

The struggle is real – as they say . 

By the time I get downstairs I’m ready to go back to bed .

Making coffee is a chore but it’s so needed . Caffeine is about the only thing my body runs on these days . 

My normal routine …. I say routine , it’s more than likely that I …. Get up around 11am . Dressed and downstairs by 12pm . I have coffee by 12:15pm and then I sit down . I’ll try and get stuff done but every 15 minutes I need to sit . 

Come 5:30pm I . Am . Dropping . I normally go for a nap for a minimum of an hour and a half . It takes me between 30 and 45 minutes to settle and drop off . Then I’ll be waking up every 20 – 30 minutes . It takes around 10 minutes for me to drop back off to sleep . So I never get a full rest . This is why I can’t ‘power nap’ .

Then after my nap I’m normally awake until 4/5 am . I’ll sleep until 8am , waking every 20 – 30 minutes . Then I’ll be awake for an hour (8-9am) Then I usually nod off again until 11am . Always waking every 20-30 minutes . This is if I’m lucky to get sleep . Some nights , I’m awake all night . It all depends on the pain and if I can lie down etc . 

And I know I’m not the only one who suffers like this . My father is exactly the same as me . So I know I’m not alone when I say , it really is tough . 

So to have the usual sly remarks made , it’s no surprise when people get short with you .  

When you are basically called lazy . Oh how I wish it was true . Physical and mental exhaustion is no joke . 

Or when you’re told it’s just a bad day . Or you’ll get over it …. Please , show us how ? Teach us how chronic pain can be cured with a flick of a switch . 

And when people make fun of you . Now this is where people can get really petty . When they see you struggling and just think it’s hilarious and that you’re doing it for attention . I would absolutely love to watch you walk in our shoes for just one day . 

So please , be kind people . It takes zero effort to just be nice to someone . To try and understand it . I mean , you wouldn’t like someone to make a joke about your bad day would you ? So why would you do it to others ? 

Think before you judge . 

Chronic illness is tough . I have tried a lot of medication to help me , none of which have . It can take years to find the right thing , so far for me it’s taken 10 years , and I’m still trying . 

I’m now looking into natural pain relief and foods that help . 

Know your limits .

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No matter what you’re doing .
House work , shopping , hobbies or work . It is very important to know your limits .

Having anxiety and depression is very tiring on a daily basis and pushing your limits can exhaust you even more .
They can also set you back a few steps .

So instead of pleasing everyone or getting all of those chours done today , limit yourself to what you can do comfortably .

Personally, I always found myself trying to please others .  To get the work done faster etc .
I always push myself . The problem is , I have found myself going backwards and having more bad days than good .
So I’m now limiting myself and forgetting everyone else .
It’s not selfish , it’s common sense .
No one else would push themselves to the point of exhaustion just to get tasks done , so why should you ?
It’s no different just because we have a label on our heads .
We don’t need to feel guilty about it either or explain ourselves .

I find I ask myself questions a lot now :

– Do I really need to do this today or can it wait until tomorrow ?

– Is it important ?

– Does it effect anyone if I don’t do it ?

Most of the time , I can leave what I am doing .

Anxiety always makes you feel guilty over the silly little things , but you really shouldn’t worry about it .

You should be focussing on getting your life back , “getting better” . You shouldn’t be exhausting yourself if there is no need to πŸ™‚

So yes , put down that hoover / leave that until tomorrow , stick the kettle on , sit down , relax , and do it tomorrow when you have more energy .
Listen to what your body is telling you . Look after yourself πŸ™‚
It’s very important !!

What speaking out has done for me.

Many people are terrified to speak out about suffering from mental illness .
I was one of these.

For many years my life was tough and 90% of it was down to me.
I wasn’t willing to accept my illness.

I hid it the best that I could when I was out of the house.
People just saw me as a timid child, but my home life was hell.
Constant arguing and fighting over stupid things. I couldn’t control my anger.
I wasn’t angry at my family, I was angry at myself, but I would blame them as it was easier.

Hiding anxiety is tough and when you lash out, you normally lash out at those closest to you.
My parents just thought I was a naughty child, but there was so much more to it, I just couldn’t tell them.

Eventually, I went to see a doctor when I was 16. I was diagnosed with depression at aged 6 but they put it down to school and being a “school phobic”.
I was a phobic of most things, anything that included people and strangers.
I spoke to the doctor and they advised me that I should take medication. They gave me leaflets and told me to speak about how I was feeling and to keep diaries to help me speak about it.
I did the diary part, but I never spoke out about it.
I refused medication for as long as I could. I did speak to my parents about my anxieties but very vaguely.

I went through a lot in my short life, counselling being a main thing in my life. I hated it. Strangers wanting to know everything about me and asking me why I was feeling this way etc etc. It’s not my cup of tea.

I gave in to medications at the age of 24. It made me spiral backwards and I was at an all time low. The doctors kept changing them often. I was getting worse and worse.
I managed, after a year and a half, to pull myself off them .

Eventually, when I was 25. I started CBT.
CBT changed my life.
I spoke to my family and loved ones about my illness. I opened up completely.
It lifted a massive weight.

CBT only lasts 8 weeks. One session , one hour a week, but it made a HUGE difference to me.
Alun helped me focus on the here and now. He made me realise I wasn’t weird or an outcast. I accepted my illness and I managed to help others accept meΒ to.
He helped me make this blog page which in turn has helped a few other people cope with their mental illness. I have also made new friends through this and I don’t feel lost anymore.

Speaking out has helped me:

  • Stopped the arguments.
  • Made others understand that I’m not cutting them out, my anxieties restrict me.
  • Made new friends.
  • Helped others speak out.
  • See my friends more now.
  • Made a blog.
  • Taken a lot of weight off my shoulders.
  • Got people off my back about working again.
  • I’ve spoken about all of my physical illnesses, as speaking out about my mental illness has given me the confidence to be open.
  • Made me feel more “normal”.
  • I have accepted myself and the hand I have been dealt.

As terrifying as it is to think about, it really isn’t anything like that. Thinking about it is the worst part.
Once you know you’re ready to accept yourself, speaking is part of the healing process.
I’m no where near “cured”, but I am getting there. I am slowly taking steps in the right direction, and as long as this road may be, I know I can get through it.
Day by day, little by little.

I highly recommend speaking out to everyone.
The best people to start with are the ones closest to you. Eg. Mother, Father, Brother, Sister, etc.

You’ll be surprised by how many people understand.

Dogs & Depression Update

I have been asked by quite a few people , to write a blog about our dogs .

So I thought I would do a little update .

We have only had Stan the Jug and Oscar the Cavachon for 12 days and already they’re part of the family .
Stan is 8 months old and Oscar is 7 months old .
They’re our babies .
We love them more than anything !!
My parents have become Nan and Dats to them . My brothers are Uncles etc etc .

Stan needed a new harness so I spent a small fortune on a new one and am tempted to get Oscar one as well .
I know it’s a lot of money but they look amazing in them !!
The colour really suits Stan (Red) .

They were definitely a challenge .
Both needing a little house training and still currently going through other training regarding tricks πŸ™‚
But they’re gorgeous and so worth it .

Before them , I would stay in bed until mid-day and then clean and do sod all for the rest of the day . Leaving my depression get the best of me .
With the news about my broken and bulging discs in my back , it really wasn’t helping.  The thought of an operation terrifies me . So I needed something to help me .

The dogs have most certainly done just that .
They keep me on my toes .
But I’m up at 10:30 latest . Although , on weekend the dogs tend to sleep until 11:30 .
I feed them and brush them , let them out etc . All the usual stuff when you have a dog .

I have lost weight too !!
Massive bonus !!
I now have curves . Super happy about that .

I do take them on short walks .
I can’t walk far so we go as far as I can with a few stops here and there .
They’re great on the leads though. 
My parents and Rob help me with that though as I can’t leave the house alone .

I don’t get many depressive spells anymore , although they haven’t completely gone , but I’d say I’m 80% getting there .
My anxiety is up and down but not as bad as it used to be .

The choice to get these dogs was the best choice we ever made πŸ˜€

It helps that they’re cuddly . I get love 24/7 off them .

They do fight , but last Tuesday they had the snip so I am really hoping it helps .
Oscar is feeling rather sorry for himself though and always wants to be picked up and have sympathy πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Bless him though , he is just a baby .
Serious training starts after he has his stitches removed next Tuesday though πŸ™‚
Stan’s are dissolvable and he doesn’t seem to care that he had an op .
He is as bouncy and playful as ever . No matter how hard we try to calm him,  it’s next to impossible haha .
But all is good .

We are super happy and can’t thank our friend enough for giving us this opportunity . 

She is still in touch with the boys and gets to see them .
They love it as they get extra attention haha .
We love it too as it’s a win win for us all .

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Mental health and Dogs

This week has been pretty exciting.
On Saturday we were offered two small dogs . One 7 month old and one 8 month old .
The 7 month old is a Cavachon and the 8 month old is a Jug .

We agreed to have them .
Come Monday they arrived !!

We now have two stunning , handsome boys !!

They’re busy and need the snip as they keep humping haha .
I have booked them in for Tuesday πŸ˜€
So all should settle down by then .
But other than that , they’re amazing !!

I never woke up before 12 pm but now I’m up at 7am with them .
I feel so much better for it. 
I’m going out on walks and becoming more active .

I am exhausted , not going to lie , but it’s all worth it πŸ™‚

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They’re fantastic with kids.

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I thought I broke them after their hour and a half walk πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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They’re both Mammy’s boys

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Oscar has a thing for me clicking my nails .

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Stanley loves all the toys ….

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ALL the toys …. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I love them to bits !!

My anxiety and depression seem to be at bay at the moment πŸ™‚ I feel great !!