Social Anxiety – Struggling to get involved

I’ve been struggling with social anxiety for as long as I can remember. Whilst I am getting better at going out & socialising my anxiety still holds me back.

Recently I contacted my local community project to get involved. I figured I may be able to help spread the word about events & fundraising and maybe get to meet a few more people locally. Feeling brave I typed out a message & hit enter. I got a reply and we organised meeting up for a chat.

Izzy fell ill and I missed meeting the guy who runs the project. I contacted him to apologise and agreed to rearrange. My anxiety is preventing me from messaging again though. I’m just a small blogger who writes to pass the time especially when I’m in pain. How could I actually help?

I was also invited to the community house meetings which are on a Thursday evening. Of course I let everything get in the way so I was ‘too busy’ to go. This has annoyed me. I’m preventing myself from moving forward with the blog & getting to know more people in the community. Why? Because I’m scared. I’ve always been the weirdo’s kid, the outcast and I still feel that’s how people see me. 

Whilst my confidence has grown in some areas my personal confidence is still struggling. I know I can offer something to the community, I’m doing well with the blog but I don’t have the confidence I need to get that across. Getting to know people locally could be nice but at the same time I quite like being unnoticed. I guess I am a bit of a loner. Realistically though  I need to get out more, I need to meet more people, I need to have more confidence in myself and start getting involved more in the local community.

I’m determined to work on this but I know it’s going to be tough.

Do you have social anxiety? Do you have any confidence building tips? Has getting involved in a community project helped you overcome social anxiety?

 

Monday Stumble Linky

Living In A High Rise With Anxiety & Chronic Pain

Living in a high rise can be hell for me! My regular readers will know quite a bit about my anxiety & chronic pain and those that read my #worldmentalhealthawarenessweek post will know a fair bit more about my mental health. Living in a high rise flat makes all of this much more difficult. When I’m having a bad day it isn’t a case of just opening the door & stepping out into the sunshine. Being 11 floors up makes it feel like a full blown mission just to get out of the building. Sometimes it leaves me feeling so trapped I lock myself away for days at a time just to avoid the going out & coming in the block.

I definitely spend more time worrying about going out now than I did when we were in a house. Living in a high rise means you WILL bump into people on your way in and out which stresses me out, especially on bad days. I’m not a people person, I can’t do small talk, I feel awkward and panic about how I look & sound. Knowing I live in a block with some extremely violent neighbours including the guy above us (who attacked the Mr back in March) can make me panic.

The worst part about living with anxiety & chronic pain on the 11th floor is when there are issues with the lifts. If they go out of service I am either stuck upstairs or downstairs or have to push myself through the pain which generally leaves me struggling for DAYS! Our lifts go out of service quite regularly even though they were ‘replaced’ last year.

On Wednesday, after over 12 hours of hearing one lift screeching up and down and people screaming, banging and ringing the bell getting stuck in the other lift the Mr got stuck for 10 minutes. Eventually he got up to the 14th floor & the doors opened, the Mr instantly called the council to try and get them fixed.

I tried to go out an hour or 2 later and found the lifts just wouldn’t open at all so I had to brave going down the stairs with Izzy. Going down isn’t so bad but with a 2 year old sliding down the concrete steps for 11 floors my back was agony by the time we got downstairs. Relieved to have at least got out we wandered off to town and the lifts seemed to be working when we got back.

We ended up stuck for 5 minutes but we were luckily let out again at the 14th floor and the Mr ran up to meet us and help Izzy as she was a little panicked. Fuming the lifts were still in service and trapping people the Mr went off to hunt down the caretakers to try and get the issue resolved. My anxiety was quite bad at this point and I kept going very dizzy. Trying to remember my calm breathing from CBT I slowly managed to calm myself down.

I’d agreed to do the afternoon school run as the Mr needed to wash his jeans (he’s a nightmare and ruins them instantly) so I started worrying about that too. We left quite early so Izzy could try walking to the school & back for the first time, roughly a mile each way. It’s a good job we did as the lifts were still not working. Again we had to go downstairs & I was dreading coming back.

After a lovely walk to the school & back we stopped a caretaker on our way home to check what was going on. He rang through to the council for me and told me the engineers had fixed it in the time we had been gone. When we got to our block though 2 other caretakers were stood at the bottom with a lift open but dropped a good few inches. They told us it should be fine but there may be a step.

Panicking I asked if they were sure & even joked if we got stuck I’d blame them. The lift stated to move ok, no noises until we got to around the 7th floor where the lift stated banging and jumping/dropping. We had another lady and her teenage son in the lift with us & we were all trying our best not to freak out, especially as I had both girls with me. With the lift doors refusing to open and the lift dropping along with ‘Doors opening, door’s closing’ repeating over and over I had to seriously work on controlling my breathing.

The girls were getting quite upset at this point so I tried to calm them down by giving them juice as the lift was getting extremely warm. Suddenly we heard the Mr’s voice asking if we were ok and what was going on. I managed to shakily shout back that we were ok and explain what was going on. We didn’t realise at this point but the 2 caretakers had come up in the lift beside us and had got stuck too. They managed to get out & the Mr asked them to call the fire brigade which they apparently aren’t allowed to do if people are stuck in the lifts!?

The Mr rung the fire brigade instead, he’s not one to hang around when something needs doing & explained there were young children in the lift and people with anxiety. I was sat with the girls at the back of the lift, both of them crying because they were scared. I honestly just wanted to scream myself but I knew I had to keep calm for the girls so I kept them talking instead. ‘That’s daddy, he’s the other side of the doors, it’s ok. You know daddy will fix it, daddy fixes everything’ I told them. Izzy bless her said ‘Just like he always fixes things’. That seemed to calm them down slightly.

Whilst waiting for the fire brigade the Mr kept trying to call the lift to different floors to see if the doors would open at some point. Each time it got stuck I told the other people to ring the alarm so they knew the lift had stopped again. We went up to the 14th but nothing happened, we went back down floor by floor with the lift still jumping & banging as it went. The doors finally opened when we reached the 7th floor with the lift dropped down a good few inches and we all got out as quickly as we could.

As soon as we were out we headed for the stairwell & made our way back up to our floor. I was visibly struggling & the caretaker suggested I stop & sit down but I explained I have chronic pain as well as anxiety so needed to keep going before my legs gave in. Living on the 11th floor of a high rise is not fun! I needed to get us all indoors so I could calm down as the pain was making me shake & struggle to breath along with my heart & head racing like mad. The Mr came looking for us and met us at the 9th floor & took over helping the girls up which was a huge relief.

We got through the door & all collapsed on the sofa, except the Mr. The fire brigade had arrived a minute after the doors opened so the Mr ran down to let the firefighters know what had happened. They agreed the lifts needed turning off until an engineer had been out again like the Mr had been asking the caretakers to do all day. Finally they were shut down & it seems an engineer came out in the early evening as one lift now works but the other is out of service.

I’m extremely nervous about going out again now, more so than before. Living in a high rise is so damn stressful for such a range of reasons. I can’t deal with the pain throughout my body after so many flights of stairs in one day as well as walking. I’ve taken all the meds I can safely take and it’s barely even taken the edge off.  The girl’s are still a bit shaken up & Eva was so worried leaving for school this morning too. I hate living in a high rise with chronic pain & anxiety, things like this just add to it and make me panic and worry more.

The most terrifying part was finding out the alarm isn’t connected to ANYTHING. It simply rings & your best hope is someone will hear it and try to call the lift to get it working again. How can I calmly step into the lift knowing if I get stuck it could be ages before someone hears? We were lucky the caretakers had known & the Mr had been watching for us to come in the block knowing the lifts were playing up & then kept an eye on them. My head keeps going over the what ifs even though I am trying to block them out. We got out safely, we are fine… But what if it happens again?

Do you live in a high rise? Do you struggle with it too?

 

 

 

#WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek – Opening Up

#WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek

It’s that time of the year again, #WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek!

I decided to join in by opening up a bit more & sharing some resources too. My mental health is far from fantastic and I suffer from Anxiety & Depression. I recently started CBT to help me with this. In doing so I have discovered my problems are much more than Anxiety and depression. I panic over the smallest things, I have nightmares and flashbacks, constantly feel guilty for EVERYTHING and after my most recent CBT session I’m pretty sure I have PTSD too. I’ve highlighted a few issues and things I can do to help my mental health which may helps others too. *May contain triggers

Guilt

Along with chronic pain having a big effect on my mental health it turns out my childhood has had more of an effect than I realised. Discussing my issues with my therapist has made me realise so much that went on when I was growing up was wrong. I always tried to protect my ‘mother’ growing up. Knowing she’d had a rough childhood herself and moved down south to get away from it all, knowing my ‘father’ had beaten her, knowing she fought regularly with my brother’s dad and knowing she had mental health issues herself I always tried to defend her.

I always felt guilty somehow, my brother being in care felt like my fault, her struggling felt like my fault, her losing her temper felt like my fault. Surely I must have done something wrong to deserve it all? I’m starting to realise it wasn’t my fault how I was treated but I know it’s going to take a long time to get out of this way of thinking.

Shame

Explaining to other’s what that went on can be difficult, most of the time I’m convinced I won’t be believed. I mean come on! Seriously, who in their right mind lets their children know they are into BDSM. Who show’s off their ‘toy’s’ (whips, canes etc.) to their kid’s? I grew up thinking it was normal, at 14 I was learning to crack 6ft bullwhips. I won’t lie I thought it was cool, that part I still do! Trying to understand that lifestyle as a teen though obviously had some major effects.

Chatting to a few people about it this week has really helped me look at my childhood in a different way. I’ve felt ashamed opening up about my past but I’m beginning to see it isn’t me who should be ashamed! I didn’t ask to be brought up that way, I was a child who had no choice in what went on around me.

 

Loneliness

With my brother going into care & my ‘mother’ out most of the time at clubs of events, I spent a lot of time alone. I watched her go through so many relationships some ‘vanilla’ some very much not so. It’s only recently I have realised this had such an impact on my relationships.

I found it hard to trust, or feel and most of the time just became obsessed with an excuse to be out the house. Of course this meant I was selfish, didn’t care about her or the fact my brother was in care. I broke up with people simply because I couldn’t deal with the stress and moaning at home. It was easier to be lonely.. less stressful. I was always told no man would ever love me & they only wanted one thing. I couldn’t put my trust into anyone fully.

When a close family friend died the day before my 18th birthday my world literally fell apart. That man had stood by us through so many problems, he stood up for me on more than one occasion and I knew without him there things would spiral out of control at home. After this I tried to overdose several times. Luckily I failed, after the first 50 odd tablets I tried I kept throwing up and eventually I slept it off.

 

Friendships Growing Up

I struggled to make friends growing up always being the weirdo’s kid but I did at least make a few over the years. Some were disgusted by what my ‘mother’ got up to but chose to ignore it, other’s were slightly interested and thought it was ‘cool’. The kids in our street all knew quite young what she got up to and I can imagine their parents were horrified.

By the time I hit my teen years only one other parent would talk to her & I think that was more for us, she covered for me a few times saying I was sleeping over or having dinner with them so I could get out for a night. I remember one huge argument between my ‘mother’ and her boyfriend, freshly laid patio being smashed up, plants & pots flying everywhere, me & my brother were so upset and confused. I grabbed my bear ‘Bestie’ (The girls now have him!) and my brother and stood in the street crying, this friends mum took us in for a few hours to get us away from it.

Leaving Home

As a teen people thought my ‘mother’ was cool for a while but then they started to encourage me to leave home. Bit by bit people were seeing what she was like when we were home alone. The majority of people I knew all felt I needed to get out as soon as possible, part of me wishes I listened sooner but it’s difficult to believe you aren’t just an awful teen causing problems!

I guess I’m glad I stayed so long as I might not have got back with the Mr and have our gorgeous girls. The day I did get brave enough to leave we had an argument, I was pinned to the bed and when she raised her fist I got brave. ‘Go on fucking hit me!’ This made her back off physically and instead she started screaming at me how I was such a horrible person, how I hated her & my brother, I’d ruined their lives because I was so selfish. She got ready to leave for work screaming how she was going to go jump in front of the train and kill herself because that’s what I wanted.

Panicking I sat in my room sobbing until the front door shut. I couldn’t do it anymore, whether it was her or me causing these problems I just couldn’t carry on living that way. I called the council explained everything & was told I needed to head to Women’s aid as what had just gone on was classed as domestic abuse. Because of my age social services couldn’t help.

Still Apologising

Even after that call I still felt like everything was my fault. I thought I was causing her to have this temper and ruining everything for her. If I wasn’t there that solved the problem for her. I wrote a letter apologising for being such an awful daughter. Writing how I hoped me leaving would mean we could build a better relationship, not being on top of each other. I left my keys with the letter packed a bag with a few essentials & my birth certificate & headed to women’s aid.

As I got to the women’s aid centre I got a call which I was told to ignore as she would have just discovered I’d left and be angry. They were right and I quickly got a text saying if I couldn’t ‘be bothered’ to answer the phone not to bother her again. I didn’t contact her again after that and it took another 3 months before she discovered a diary of mine and called me. She had read a paragraph loosely mentioning I had been abused and she wanted to know what had gone on. I still felt guilty and told her nothing, I made out it was me being scared after we had been burgled.

Trying Again

I felt so guilty after that call that I agreed to meet up with her in London. We met and things were ok for almost a year, I fell pregnant with Eva and she showed interest & helped me out where she could. At this point my brother was in Northampton after several suicide attempts. It was difficult to visit him especially after a C-section with a new born to look. I had a chat with his social worker and we agreed on a home visit at our flat. We would have to be checked out by Social services and have the flat looked over for escape routes etc. I figured this would be better for him anyway, in a more comfortable setting.

Our ‘mother’ wasn’t allowed home visits, looking back it’s not surprising! I talked to the social worker and managed to get her to agree to our ‘mother’ being there too since it was supervised contact. We had a great day and took loads of pictures for us all to look back on. I had high hopes that this family setting would help us all be a little closer.

Giving Up For Good

I was asked to email over the photo’s to our ‘mother’ so I did. The next morning I got a rather aggressive text demanding I sent the photo’s. I replied to say I had sent them but would try again. She refused to believe I had sent them as she hadn’t received them. I sent screenshots of the sent messages & she blew up at me saying she had told me it needed to go to her work email not her personal one as she could only access her work one.

By this point I was in tear but sent the pictures to the correct account whilst still receiving abusive messages. I’d apparently not sent her the pictures because I hated her. Apparently I thought she was a shit mum and didn’t deserve pictures of her family. No matter how much I tried to explain I had sent them, I was wrong. Even when I realised she wanted them sent to her work email and did that it still wasn’t good enough.

The argument quickly took to Facebook where she tried to embarrass me which she seemed to enjoy doing. The Mr had had enough at this point. He’d seen what she was like when I was living with her. He had also seen how it affected me and how hard I tried to please her. He stepped in and told her to stay away from his family from now on. I haven’t spoken to her since and never want to again. I gave up for good on that day.

Relationships

The Mr has been absolutely amazing and helped me through a lot of issues. He has had to put up with so much because of my dysfunctional upbringing. When things started to get worse with chronic pain on top of everything else it caused a lot of problems. I reverted back to being extremely defensive and told him to leave far too many times. He shared this article with me the other day and I have to say it explains anxiety in relationships so well! I actually felt less guilty for reading it. He doesn’t deserve to go through it & it’s difficult for him just as it is for me but it can’t be helped. I can honestly say the Mr has had a great impact on my life though and has stuck by me through some of my biggest crashes. I have a lot of issues to continue working through which will take time. The Mr has already helped me massively, but it definitely hasn’t been the easiest ride.

Self care

Whilst CBT and the Mr are helping me I need to help myself too. Self care is majorly important for our mental health. Growing up to believe I was selfish means I struggle badly with self care. Usually I have to find ways to justify doing something for me. It has to somehow help someone else too or do some good. I’m slowly working on this though and trying not to feel guilty doing something for myself or something I enjoy. I’ve been conditioned to think nothing but negative thought’s about myself. I hope eventually I can kick these negative thoughts. I’m looking into mindfulness and ways to look after myself & have some me time to help.

Talk about it

Blogging has been a big help, somewhere to rant and ramble when I need to. Uplifting comments & people understanding what I’m going through has helped a lot. I’ve overcome a lot of the years and have a lot more to work through. I still have nightmares that wake the Mr, violently hitting out & screaming in my sleep. Explaining a lot of this and reading up on guilt, shame, anxiety has pointed me in the direction of PTSD. Due to my nightmares & flashbacks the Mr also seems to think I have PTSD.

I’m slowly beginning to realise none of it was my fault. I was a child and not in control at all. I’m beginning to realise it’s not normal for a child to find out about BDSM so young. Seeing people walk around dressed up (or not so dressed up!) and hearing/seeing people being beaten messes your head up. Regardless of the fact it was 2 consenting adults, a child shouldn’t be seeing that.

Positive’s

Growing up in a dysfunctional family  leaves it’s mark for the rest of your life. You are probably wondering how I’ve managed to find positives. I know it’s affected me negatively. I also like to think it’s made me a better person in some ways too though. I’m more open minded than a lot of people I know. I’m the first to admit when I mess something up. I love my girls to the moon & back and make sure I hug and kiss them always. Affection was something we lacked growing up. Cuddles were extremely awkward. We were told it made her feel ‘dirty’. I think I remember being hugged maybe 5 times growing up. I hate how that felt even now and I promised both my girls the day they were born I would smother them in love, hugs & kisses for the rest of their lives!

It was a struggle to believe for a long time the Mr loved me, I didn’t see how he could. Now I know that I’m extremely lucky. He DOES loves me & would do anything for me which he’s proven time after time over the last 8 years. He’s stuck by me and supported me through some rough times even when I’ve been a complete bitch.

Whilst I don’t have a lot of friends those I do have I would do ANYTHING for! I understand when friends are down and need to just be around people even if we don’t talk. I know sometimes people need to rant essays at me and don’t want a real response just something to let them know you are there, you are listening, you do understand they are struggling & they have somewhere to vent.

Getting Help

It’s taken a long time for me to finally reach out properly and get professional help. Always believing I’d be wasting their time! Now I realise just how messed up my head is and how important getting help is. Get a referral if you can. It may take a while but do what you can in the meantime to get help, take time out for you, there are online sites & telephone lines to help anyone struggling too.

If you need someone to talk to DM me on twitter (@lentlesslypurpl) or email me (Relentlesslypurple@gmail.com), I’m usually around somewhere and more than happy to chat. I’ve provided a few sites & numbers below for those in need of help.

If you or someone you know need a little help the numbers & sites below may be useful:

Womens Aid – 0808 2000 247 – Available 24/7

NSPCC – 0808 8005 000 – Available 24/7

Mind0300 123 3393 – Available 9am-6pm Mon-Fri

Heads Together Support – Contains A list of different services available

Sane – 0300 304 7000 – Available 4.30pm – 10.30pm daily

Find Mental Health Services in Your area using NHS Service search

It has taken me the entire week to write & rewrite this post. My anxiety made me worry for so many reasons, I wasn’t sure I was going to post this. Tmore we talk about these things though the easier it is for others to open up and get help too. I’m not hiding anymore.
This is my story in support of #worldmentalhealthawarenessweek

I’ve Crashed. I Need A Reboot Button.

I’ve crashed. I need a reboot button. My anxiety has hit me hard today. My brain is all messy and I need to write to get it out. I wasn’t going to post today but it feels like the only thing I can do right now.

Why have I crashed? A simple appointment. Contractors coming in to check the ventilation system. It wouldn’t have been a problem for most people but having yet more worker in set me off badly. We’ve had so many rude workers come in who act like I don’t exist. I know my flat is owned by the council but I do pay rent and service charges, surely that gives me some say in what goes on?

The worker’s who came in luckily were alright this time but the idea of the mess and having to repaint any damage etc. really got to me, If you have been following my blog for a while you may remember we had a Kitchen, Bathroom & Toilet refit. Well the places they needed access to was behind all the lovely freshly painted boards.

For almost a year now my flat has looked DREADFUL. I’m really struggling with it now. I just need everything finished. Luckily the workmen listened and seem to understand a little and worked with us to resolve the issues and get the job done. There was no mess or damage in the end thankfully. Once they left though I was almost in tears. The day has just been too much.

I’d waited since 8am and they finally turned up at 12.40pm then had to return an hour later with more parts. I panicked about when they would be back knowing the Mr was doing the afternoon school run as I’d already knackered myself out doing the morning. Being home on my own with work going on gives me panic attacks.

At our old house a worker decided to threaten to punch the Mr for pointing out his shabby work & requesting it to be redone. I ended up having to lock the doors when he went to his van because his threats & temper scared me so much. I really freaked out as he started banging the doors and shouting so I called the estate agents to get him to leave the property and eventually he did. With it just being me and a toddler Eva at the time I freaked out and locked us in the play room just in case whilst I made the calls & got the Mr to come home. Ever since I’ve panicked about workers coming in.

The Mr was just leaving when they came back so it was a little easier as he let them in when the knock made me jump. They got on with the work and were back out the door quite quickly but as soon as they were I almost cried. I felt dizzy and weak. A full on crash. I hate how anxiety leaves me so exhausted whilst my heart feels like it’s going to jump out of my chest.

I've crashedI’ve crashed

I really need this CBT to start. I’ve crashed again & it’s getting ridiculous. The most simplest stupidest things have me on edge worrying over a million possibilities and feeling ridiculous. It’s hard when you know you are worrying over thing’s that are absolutely ridiculous or impossible but can’t stop. I want my life back. I need to stop worrying about EVERYTHING and having these crashes.

The worst part is I’m finding it hard to chat to people again so I feel even worse. I only rant to 1 or 2 trusted people and over the last week or 2 I’ve even struggled to do that. I keep trying to jump in then panic and feel lost and don’t know what to say so I hide again. I’m sick of this. I am a lively hyper happy person usually but with chronic pain, anxiety & depression fucking me up I don’t feel like me anymore.

Other than waiting for CBT and Pain Psychologist appointment’s I don’t know what to do. I just want to feel like me, I’d like to wake up and make that important call. I want to wake up & not panic Eva will be late when she is NEVER late! I panic about so many stupid little things from the second I wake up & I just want my brain to shut up.

The worst part is today actually wasn’t that bad in the end yet I still feel so upset & drained. I feel ridiculous for getting so worked up over something so simple. I’ve probably left the blokes thinking I am a complete freak but I couldn’t stop my panic attacks. I really wish I could just hit reboot & be me again.

FUCK YOU ANXIETY.

 

A Crazy Few Weeks

It’s been a crazy few weeks after I discovered last Wednesday I was entitled to PIP when I woke up and checked my bank account. A letter followed that afternoon. I didn’t quite know how to feel to be honest so I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog. I was quite relieved to have the back payment and be able to sort a few thing’s we needed but at the same time it made me feel quite low. My Anxiety & Depression have spiralled our of control because of Chronic Pain at the moment that I need this just to help me do simple things and make life a little less stressful!

I’ve found it hard to write or join in properly on twitter again which is quite frustrating but I’m feeling a little bit better about everything now and trying to focus on the positives.

It’s been a struggle to get out and about for month’s thanks to anxiety and pain making my life hell. I’ve been able to get taxi’s over the last week or so, something I usually avoid because of the cost. It’s been quite nice to go out and not hurt instantly from walking there or panicking about missing a bus or train. I have a lot of different appointments coming up with CBT, Psychology etc. It’s difficult having to go alone as the Mr has to look after the girls. Now I know it won’t be half as stressful going alone as I can take a taxi and not be late or stood waiting in the cold for up to 30 minutes!

I’ve been able to sort storage for the girls room so they have no excuse for it to be too messy. Hopefully saving my back from hours of tidying. Something I stress about regularly. I feel a bit guilty as I should have a quick tidy in there every day but I struggle to keep up with it all, hopefully now the girls will know where to put everything and keep it cleaner.

I decided to treat myself a little to try and make me feel a bit better about myself. I had my hair cut last week and then the Mr dyed it for me with my usual Schwarzkopf XXL Live Mystic Purple dye! He even did my brothers hair too which made Alex happy. It’s definitely made me feel a little less-self conscious being purple again.

a crazy few weeks

I bought a dinner table so we can eat properly at a table as a family, great for Family dinner’s! My brother Alex has found our family dinner’s give him a sense of normality and family life he missed out on growing up and he loves that. It’s nice for me too as I rarely see anyone these day’s, now it will be much easier so we can do it more often.

Although our day out this half term didn’t quite go as planned as 360 Play in Basildon were full and had to turn us away, the girls had fun in the arcades at Hollywood Bowl. I was a bit gutted but also quite grateful as the noise in the arcades was bad enough! I felt pretty anxious but with my brother there I managed to stick it out long enough for the girls to have fun.

Martyn & the boys came over this week too for a Greek day, it turned into a not so Greek day with only shields and swords being completed.. me playing with bubble wrap and paint may not have helped haha! It was a rather noisy busy day all round but it was nice to have a catch up and the girls obviously had lots of fun.

Today Eva is off at a Disney Princesses and Princes workshop at the Thameside Theatre run by Creative blast. I surprised her and kept the day a secret right up until the last minute when I pulled her Elsa dress out and explained what she would be doing. She was a little confused at first bless her as she thought I had something important to do haha! The lady at the desk explained what would happen across the day and Eva got excited, even more so when she had her dress on! At the end of the day they are putting on a show which we will go and watch 20 minutes before the end of the day at 4pm. The day only cost £22.50 and it was a fairly small group of kids so I’m sure Eva will have lots of fun getting involved with the others!

 

Lung Infection & Lupus – Worrying About My Baby Brother

I’ve been worrying about my baby brother over the weekend. Most of you will know from some of my posts and tweets Alex is a big part of my life so to get a panicky call from him on Saturday and hearing him seriously struggling to breath left me worrying, A LOT. As well as struggling to breath he’s had these strange ring rashes appear which look very much like Lupus.

Alex had tried and struggled to go to his nearest shop and rung me worried, he didn’t want to walk to the hospital ‘in case it was a waste of time’. He suggested waiting until the morning..  So I put my Mummy voice on and insisted at the very least he call 111 for some advice.

Panicking

As soon as I put my phone down I began to panic, Alex doesn’t have the greatest immune system and has weak lungs from being born prematurely, he also suffers from Asthma. Temperatures were below 0 and I was worried he would get worse but luckily he did what he was told and called 111. An ambulance was sent out to him and the paramedics decided he needed to go to hospital. His heart rate and irregular breathing was concerning them so they insisted he was wheeled to the ambulance instead of walking which he wasn’t too impressed with.

He text me to let me know he was waiting for the ambulance then understandably I didn’t hear from him for over an hour. I spent the entire time unable to concentrate on anything, constantly checking my phone for an update. Eventually Alex let me know he had bloods taken and had ‘things put all over his chest’ (ECG) and he was scared. I tried to distract him whilst he waited, chatting about a documentary I was watching on the London Graveyard’s by London Liverpool Street Station.

After some rambling back and forth he eventually got his results. It turned out Alex has a lung infection and suspected Lupus. He called me as he walked home, struggling to breathe. Hearing him so vulnerable, crying from the pain, being so scared alone was horrible, I just wanted to be there and give him a hug. He was given antibiotics for the lung infection and his NHS number (At last!!!!) so he can finally register with a GP and get a referral to a dermatologist to confirm the suspected lupus.

The two major symptoms are joint and muscle pain and an extreme tiredness that won’t go away no matter how much you rest.

Rashes, depression, anaemia, feverishness, headaches, possible hair loss and mouth ulcers may all be part of the pattern of lupus.

Noticeably, whilst the two major symptoms are invariably present, people with lupus can differ greatly in their symptoms and how the illness can affect them – life-threatening for a few, very mild for some.

We are all extremely worried about his health, he has had all the symptoms that point to lupus for a while now. This worried me just as much as the lung infection. He is my baby brother and I hate that I couldn’t be there with him. Not having a car is becoming more and more stressful, things like this happen and I’m left helplessly worrying instead of being there to look after him. I’ve always tried to look out for my baby brother, I remember holding his tiny little hand through the incubator for the first time. He was so tiny and fragile and spent a long time in NICU so when he finally came home I couldn’t leave him alone.

I fed him & changed him as a baby, I taught him his first words, how to read and write. He learnt his first colours from a song I made up with a row of coloured teddies over his bouncer. Red teddy, yellow teddy, green teddy, blue! He may be my baby brother but I guess in a way he’s always been my baby too which is why I’m so protective of him. To me he’s just like the girls, he’s a huge part of my world and I always feel the need to care for him so times like this are extremely tough.

Brother & Sister forever

Alex and I had an unusual childhood, he was in care from 7/8 years old but this has never stopped us having a strong relationship. We have only lost contact once for a few months when I left home and went into a women’s refuge, I didn’t have any contact details for him but eventually we sorted it and contact resumed. When I had Eva he had been sectioned and was in hospital after several suicide attempts. I knew I had to jump in some how and bring some normality back to his life so I arranged home visits, had visits from Social services etc. to ensure our flat was safe for him.

Since then we have kept in regular contact and gone through a lot together, I know he almost see’s me as a mum to him too and with him not talking to ‘her’ right now means I am pretty much all he has, knowing that and not being there was so difficult. We were brought up to avoid Dr’s and Hospital’s, terrified that anything and everything would end in needles.. no wonder I had a needle phobia! Knowing he was sat in the same A&E room where he sat as a child being told off for having a broken leg worried me, he’s also overdosed several times and ended up there too. He suffers from PTSD and I was terrified this would set him off but distracting him did seem to help.

Going forward

I’m hoping the antibiotics help and his lung infection goes away. I’ll be focusing on getting over to him as much as I possibly can over the next few weeks to help get him registered at a GP. We also need to get his referral for a dermatologist to find out if he does have Lupus and what we can do to keep him as healthy as possible. Lupus is extremely complicated and Alex is understandably terrified as he has no clue what’s going on. He’s had so many of the symptoms that it really is worrying but I intend to look after my baby brother as much as possible!

Have you ever been in a similar situation? Do you know anything about Lupus that may help? Please do leave a comment if you have any experience with Lupus.

My Medication Review

My medication review was this morning. Knowing I have pain clinic next week I decided I really needed to focus more in my mental health. My anxiety has been through the roof lately and I’ve struggled to brain.. a lot!

I was completely honest about how I’ve been feeling and I was basically given 2 options.

1. Be referred to a psychiatrist so I can be put in stronger medication as I’m already on such a low dose. (Something I’d prefer to avoid if possible)

2. Refer myself to the therapy centre above the surgery.

I decided to go upstairs and refer myself for therapy. I recieved a call later in the afternoon going over how I feel, my symptoms and my mental health history. Once I had finished the questionnaire the lady suggested referring me for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

I panicked but decided I need to do something because I hate struggling so much. I hate feeling like I can’t do anything right and I’m useless. I hate not being able to go out without panicking. I hate being invited somewhere and feeling like its just out of politeness. I want to enjoy things & believe in myself a little bit more. I know it may not help fully but if it can calm me down even slightly I might not be such an anti-social stresshead!

I spoke to my brother about it this evening and he told me he went through a CBT course and mentioned it made him feel patronised at first but after a few sessions it did help change his way of thinking. I’m hoping it can help me too and I’m also glad for the heads up as I think I might have struggled to continue if the first few sessions don’t seem to help.

I now have to wait for a call when an appointment is free to start the CBT. I’ve no idea how long that will be but I’m hoping it’s not too long.

As I said I have pain clinic on Tuesday too. Whilst the Gabapentin has helped massively I am still struggling. I’m still feeling those electric bolts through my legs, pain in my hips & back. Now it’s getting much colder my ribs hurt too so I need to bring all of this up and see if they can suggest anything that may help.

I’m quite exhausted after today but I’m glad in between all of it I still managed to join the Mr & Izzy at the pub. Our favourite pub is always quiet & we know the regulars. Sometimes I do mire than smile politely and say hi too. Today wasn’t one of those days but it was nice to be acknowledged and left alone to enjoy being outside of these walls.

I now want to hide away for a few days though. It’s been a very hectic, peopley, emotional day with too many phone calls & talking to ‘important people’. I’ve gone over a lot of my past in a 20 minute phone call which has left my head hurting a bit aswell as admitting my crazy is getting too crazy.

I decided to write and publish this before I decide it isn’t worth it as I usually do but now I’m off to curl up and feel sorry for myself because I hurt all over and feel so cold!

Have you tried CBT? Did it help at all? I’m honestly quite nervous about it all and would love some feedback!

I Just Can’t Brain Some Days

Do you ever have those ‘I can’t brain today’ days? I do quite regularly and it can be very stressful.

My mind wanders.. I’ve no idea where it wander’s to at times but I just can’t focus and feel useless. I find myself just staring blankly at things. Sometimes the smallest of things causes it, other times I just wake up like it.

I struggle to word, I struggle to write, I struggle to adult, I just can’t brain at all. I’m aware of what’s going on around me but struggle to interact. I’ll be scrolling through twitter but have absolutely no idea what to say or if it’s ‘ok’ to comment on something.

It’s frustrating and I get annoyed with myself but I just have to let it pass and try to ride it out. My chest hurts and I have awful dizzy spells. I struggle to interact with people and probably come across a bit moody at times because of it. Some days I just can’t brain and figure out what to say or do. I stress about having to do anything.

The last month or so has been full of ups and downs for me, as I’m sure it has for many others so I’ve been struggling to brain a little more than normal. Forgetting to go to my medication review and running out of tablets for a day or 2 knocked me a bit but luckily I braved a phone call to my GP surgery. I was quite distressed on the phone to my GP surgery where I had missed an appointment but the receptionist could obviously tell. An emergency prescription was arranged to be collected from the chemist around 11am which the Mr got for me. I was also booked in for my medication review which is tomorrow!

Even though I managed the call and everything turned out ok, my chest still hurt when I put the phone down. I still had to try and breathe slowly to try and keep myself calm and stop everything going fuzzy. I hate feeling like this and not being able to stop it.

I’m jumping at everything, something falling, loud noises, something moving near me unexpectedly. I feel stressed at the slightest of things, a mess, something I’ve forgotten, feeling lazy when I’m in so much pain I neglect the few things I need to get done around the flat. The worst part is knowing it is all so irrational. I get so frustrated with myself for it which just makes things even worse and I just can’t brain some days!

Do you struggle to brain some days too? How to you manage it?

 

I can't brain today

 

 

 

#WorldMentalHealthDay

#WorldMentalHealthDay

 

Today is of course #WorldMentalHealthDay. I wanted to join in and share a few things with you all to help raise awareness and help those struggling to see that they are not alone, such a huge percentage of the population struggle & feel so, so alone & that really needs to change. We need to reach out to one another & share our stories!

Mental Health is something I heard a lot about as a child as a lot of the adults I grew up knowing had depression, anxiety, bipolar & schizophrenia, so it is something I’ve learnt a fair bit about different issues over the years. I was going to look into statistics and figures but honestly I don’t feel there is any need, so many of us don’t say a word which leads me to believe the statistic’s are unrealistic.

I myself struggle with depression & anxiety and for quite some time I struggled massively with ED’s which I’ve slowly discovered has contributed to my Chronic pain which of course has caused me to feel quite depressed, I also struggle with how my Scoliosis makes my ribs stick out but sharing my stories in my blog has meant I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from other people and that has made such a difference!

I talk openly on my blog about all these things, NOT for sympathy but to connect with other’s who feel the same, it can be very lonely and stressful when you feel worthless & too scared to ask for a little help and I truly hope that the blogging community sharing their stories helps anyone struggling.

My brother has Aspergers & PTSD amongst other things & yes he can be difficult to be around at times but that ISN’T his fault. He had very little support growing up and felt very alone, being pushed from one foster home or care home to another as a child and being sectioned as a teen and then suddenly being all alone in a tiny bedsit has been very stressful and hard for him.

He spiralled out of control turning to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain, he was EXTREMELY difficult to be around during that time BUT the Mr and I made it our mission to help him turn himself round. And you know what? With a bit of persistence, love and a little bit of a kick up the bum he has become a totally different person over the past year.

Now he is dealing with his issues and facing them in counselling he is coping much better. Knowing he IS part of our family & our home is his home has helped him relax and realise he is loved and cared for. He still has bad days especially because of his past but now instead of trying to numb the pain & destroy himself he picks up the phone and calls me or jumps on a train and distracts himself or talks his problems through and bit by bit he has turned his life round completely.

Talking about our problems can help us more than most things especially if we feel someone is actually listening, we know people may not fully understand but it’s nice to be heard and it makes us feel less alone.

What’s your story? What are you struggling with? What do you do to cope?

Image result for you are cared for

If you need to talk please do, my DM, email etc is always open to ANYONE that needs to talk, day or night! If you prefer there are plenty of charities to help, whether its over the phone, by email or on-line chat, whatever method you prefer there is ALWAYS someone waiting to help you and talk through your problems, PLEASE DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE!

If you do need to talk to someone here is a small list of contacts:

The Samaritans are a well known organisation who are always there for a chat whether your just having a low day or you feel thing’s are much worse, get in touch!

Whatever you’re going through, call us free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

We’re here round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call us on the phone. This number is FREE to call. You don’t have to be suicidal to call us.

Another brilliant organisation is Togetheruk.org although I have no personal experience myself they offer a range of services around the country .

Together is a national   charity working alongside people with mental health issues on their journey towards independent and fulfilling lives.

MIND is an amazing organisation that offers counselling & they have helped both my and my brother. My brother still currently has counselling with them and I can honestly say that has played a HUGE part in his recovery. They offer a range of services and support too.

Contact us

Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

0300 123 3393

info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

Even if you find ways to cope and manage and feel you have recovered well there may still be days you need a little chat to help you keep on top, please do ask for help if you feel thing’s are slipping again.

If you know someone struggling, make them a cuppa & share some cake & just be there to listen when you know they are feeling low. Sometimes just being there can mean so much, we don’t need to be told what to do or to just cope we just need a little love & understanding to help us through the bad days so we can fully enjoy the good days.

RUN!

Yesterday was Eva’s first day back at school and of course before we even got to the morning there was a problem. A rather bloody problem!

Eva managed to slide down her plastic steps scraping her foot leaving a long flap of skin hanging off which we had to cut off Sunday night.

We told teachers about her foot the following morning as she wanted to go in, she soldiered on through the day but by the time she got home it obviously needed airing so we will see how she goes over night, she may have to stay home tomorrow to keep it aired.

Apart from Eva’s foot the day started off great! The Mr & I woke well before the alarm and managed a cup of tea before waking the girls. Eva’s written morning routine helped keep her on track and she was actually ready well before she needed to be. Eva struggles to stay focused when getting ready and normally needs constant reminding, this morning I was really impressed with how quickly she got ready, maybe it was the excitement of her first day back at school but hopefully she keeps it up.

The Mr took Eva off to school & Izzy stayed with me as it was raining but as I let her have the TV on she was ecstatic and let me get the kitchen cleaned in peace. By 9.10am my kitchen was done & although my hip was aching I felt like I could do a bit more so started on the girls room. 

Just waiting to borrow a friends hoover

I managed to get it looking tidy after 7 whole weeks! I felt like crying by the end of it but the Mr took Izzy shopping, so I put away the washing and curled up in bed for half an hour to rest. 

Not long after they returned my brother arrived quite stressed and tired after struggling to sleep for days so we got chatting and cheered each other up a bit. I decided to pick Eva up from school as I felt awful that I missed taking her in the morning & do it so rarely now. 

My brother decided to come with me when I mentioned I’d take Izzy. Before we even left he took over Izzy’s trike & wouldn’t let me push it as he knows it really hurts my back & I struggle with the walk. It was lovely to see him thinking about me and enjoying pushing Izzy. They really had a laugh once he got the hand of the handle, weaving along the paths and zooming ahead and we joked with a group of women about Alex needing learner plates as it was his first time.

Run

Once we got to the school I found Eva’s new classroom had been moved again. We had to ask for directions to find her and as soon as she heard my voice and saw my brother she came running out shouting ‘Uncle Alex!’. She was so happy and surprised we were both picking her up.

Unfortunately as I looked up from Eva I suddenly felt extremely overwhelmed by the amount of people surrounding us and began to panic. Alex spotted it straight away and asked what I needed so I told him to just get us out of the gates so he charged through the crowd with trike clearing a path for me to follow.

Once we were out of the gates I was fine and felt a bit silly, especially as its normally me calming my brother down, not the other way round.

We got walking and suddenly I looked up and saw Alex running off full speed to the end of the road giggling his head off with Izzy. When we finally caught up with them they were still laughing & my brother said ‘Sorry about that Izzy told me to run, so I did’. I cracked up. My brother is normally VERY careful with the girls and scared he will do something wrong or hurt them so I was really proud he just went for it & trusted himself enough to do so, his confidence with the girls really is coming on leaps & bounds!

On the way home I began to struggle with the walk and asked them to walk on as I find it awkward slowing everyone down. By the time we got home and checked Eva’s foot the skin had gone white where it had been covered and damp all day so we left it uncovered to air out over night to see how she got on, she ended up staying home today as although it is healing and looks better the skins tightening & scabbing making it harder for Eva to walk and very uncomfortable for her, sofa day it is!

Once we had sorted Eva’s foot and the girls had eaten after Alex ruined a microwave pizza and I nearly burnt the chips trying to calm an upset Eva, Alex sat with them playing with Eva’s doh Vinci set which is of course now ALL over my carpet! 😂😂😂

I really do enjoy watching these 3 play together and love that they now see their Uncle weekly and spend time playing & doing things. It’s hard sometimes not having much family around for them so it’s lovely they have at least one blood relative they are really close to & where I struggled across the day it was nice to have some extra help.

I also really appreciate just how much Alex helped me yesterday especially as I really had over done it with cleaning & then went on to do the school run making things worse & the panic attack on top. Oh and yes I HURT today!

It wouldn’t be a Monday morning or the first day back at school without a few hiccups though aye? As I climbed into bed last night I just suddenly hear Izzy shout ‘RUN!’ in my head and picture them speeding ahead and cracked up.I ended up texting my brother before falling asleep to thank him for his help, his Asperger’s can make it so difficult for him to know what to do in most situations and I was so proud and grateful he had managed to do so well and help so much across the day!

If your little ones gone back to school how did the first day go? Do you ever have panic attacks in the school playground? How do you deal with them?