Are you ready for this?

My Photo
Location: United Kingdom

Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Twitching and other such nonsense.

Well, so much for that! It's sod's law that if I write about how well something is going, pretty sure it quickly goes to hell in a hand basket and indeed it did. The very day after I wrote how well Sophie was doing and how well we were getting on, she blew up in a most spectacular way. It ended with a physical fight between her and Daniel which was horrifying, she fought, he restrained and it was a miserable and horrible time.
The good that came from it though is that I went with Sophie to the Dr and she laid it all on the line, told the Dr how miserable she was, how out of control and sad she felt and how she could tell she was doing things that were wrong but she felt as though she had no control over herself.
The Dr has referred her to a psychiatrist for a diagnosis, she did mention bi polar disorder which is what I have felt so sure is what she is suffering from. She has had her meds changed and has 2 weeks off work to allow those to kick in.
I am so hopeful that she can get help and eventually have some kind of stable and happy life. It is awful to see her going through what she does and it is completely exhausting and frustrating to have to pick up the pieces and patch everything over for her as she threatens to destroy herself. Hope is a marvellous thing and I cling to it.
I had my second therapy session this week and at the end of it she told me that I don't need her, that her services are to help people cope with the stresses of life and that I am coping, that I seem to have all the answers and there isn't anything she can help me with. That's very flattering but actually I didn't want her to help me cope, I wanted her to help me let go of how scared and sad I am all the time, I didn't feel sufficiently impressed with her to explain that and thought that if she felt she couldn't help me, the chances are, she can't.
I am trying ( again) to help myself, small steps in eating better. H bought me a power plate for Christmas and it is fantastic, it exercises muscles, increases blood flow and bone density. As well as working on slimming and toning it has been miraculous in getting rid of my restless leg syndrome, 5 minutes, lying with my calves on the vibrating plate and it shakes those twitched right out.
It is so funny to use, I was under the impression that somehow I would just stand on it, turn it on and it would tone and work my muscles....oh my goodness, you have to stand on it in a certain way and it HURTS! It truly feels as though you have exercised for an hour after just 2-3 minutes. It is invigorating though and I love that I feel I will continue to use it, rather than sit trying to make myself get up and do it and ....not.
Very touching story about how I found it and H bought it. I have been looking at and reading about power plates for a few months, trying to decide if it would work for me or if it would join the rowing machine under Sophie's bed. I have a friend who sometimes asks me to sell things for her on Ebay and we were having one of those chats, with me saying how I don't sell on Ebay anymore because it's not worth all the hassle by the time they take their fees etc. She told me she had one of those ' machine things that you stand on and it vibrates' and I half heard her but didn't really listen apart from saying I didn't think I could sell it for her.
A few days later, Sophie and I were out in the car and it was a light bulb moment, I got Sophie to call and ask what the machine was called and to ask if it was one of the old type machines with a belt thing on it. I was so excited when she said it was a power plate asked her how much she wanted for it and decided that I was going to buy it. I told H that I was going to buy it and asked him if he wanted to give me some cash towards it for Christmas. He jumped at the chance to not have to try and think up what to get for me and the plan was agreed on.
A few days later, on boxing day, I told him that I would give him the rest of the money to give to Launa when he got to church, we were staying home with coughs and colds, bless his heart he said " Actually, I went 'round there on Christmas Eve and paid for the whole thing for you. He also bought me a couple of little presents for Christmas. He done did good and I didn't have to slide into a fit of 'poor me misery' at all over the holidays. So I already loved it before it began to rid me of my twitching and painful restless legs.
I'd write more but my head is too heavy for my neck tonight, poor old neck, I wish there was a way to lay it on the power plate and shake it better but I'm afraid it would shake what brains I have left out of my ear and then, well then what?


Thursday, January 06, 2011

I believe in Angels.

Sometimes, I will realise that something is over and the feeling I have is overwhelming. In all the tough times in my life there seems to have been a pattern, realisation, panic, getting through it ( which involves not thinking but just doing, head down, deep breath and get on with it) quivering fear as I realise I have done whatever it is that needed doing, followed by a period of mentally hiding, trying to not think that it may be over. Then, when I see that it is really and truly over, that seems to be when I fall apart for a while, when I just collapse and shake and shut down for as long as it takes. I hate that bit, more than the part when I am actually living though whatever nightmare life has thrown at me.
Whatever has happened, I have only ever asked once that it not happen, that I won't have to deal with this awful thing and that was when I discovered when Sophie was using drugs, I remember that day praying hard and telling the Lord that I couldn't do this, I couldn't do it, please don't make me do it. Please.
The next day, Dan stepped in and he took her away and he saved her. For a few months, he kept her safe and he watched her, he gave her a job and somewhere to live and he gave me time to get ready. She left Bath after a few months and she came back down to Devon and she carried on right where she left off and she did it the way she does everything, she gave it her all.
She moved from filthy, terrifying place to hateful, dark place. She mixed with the lowest of the low and she was a skinny, dirty and she was hurtling towards hell. I would meet her and feed her and walk away.
She would come to the house and ask to stay and I would ask her if she was ready to do things differently and she would say no, she couldn't, she liked her 'friends' and they liked her and I should accept that she could choose her own life, so I would tell her that she couldn't stay with us because I had 3 little boys and when SHE was little, I protected her, I kept her away from people that could harm her and I had to give them the same childhood that I had given her. I told her that in this house we have rules that keep us all safe and well, that we have rules to enable everyone living here to feel secure when they walk in the door and while she was living her life this way, she couldn't be here and take that away from everyone else.
She would scream and cry and beg to stay here and I would say no, you can't, you are choosing not to. One night, as I drove her back to the house she was staying in, she cried and cried and when I pulled up in front of the house she begged again for me to take her home and then she said " All I want is for you to love me, all I want is for you to hug me like a normal mum would and you don't even do that, do you? You don't do ANYTHING for me!"
I held my breath for a minute and then I said " Sophie, for 19 years I have been the only person to do everything for you, I have fought for you, fed you, taught you and stood up for you. I spend every day and every night waiting for someone to come and tell me you are dead, I wonder every moment of every day where you are and who you are with, I try not to think about how you are feeding yourself and what you are doing while you are with these people you call friends, tell me how I can possibly allow myself to have ANY fluffy feelings towards you? Where, in amongst all that terror and worry can I possibly find some cosy huggy emotions? All I Can do right now, while you are choosing to live your life this way is to make sure you are fed and remind you that should you ever decide that this life you are living is not what you want anymore, you can come home" and then I sent her into the house she was staying in.
I went into town one day and as I walked past a pub, at 10.30 in the morning, a pub that has outside seating, I heard her call my name and as I heard her she flew out of this pub seating area. She was, as always, loud and over excited and she said "Come and say hello to my friends!" I walked over to the table she was sitting at and saw 3 other people, all of them either in their 40s or they had had such a miserable and tough existence they looked much older than they were. All 3 were heavily tattooed, necks and faces included, one woman with yellowed skin, 2 men with missing teeth and nicotine stained fingers and I looked at this child of mine, 19 and beautiful and then back at these other people and a miraculous thing happened .... I was told once that wherever I went, evil would feel my presence and would hide itself from me. That sounds like a strange thing for someone to say but often in my life I have had people say things like this to me and I always take notice and remember what they have said and this day, I watched as evil tried to hide from me. Each of those people that was with Sophie, as she told me their names ( all made up names of course, Maz and Biffer etc) each one of them tried to slither away, none of them would look at me and they all tried to make themselves shrink under the table. I said goodbye and I walked away with the hairs on my neck standing on end and my skin crawling. When I saw Sophie the next day I told her that these people were not her friends that they were bad people who wanted to drag her down as low as they were, that they wouldn't be happy until she was as miserable and low as them. She argued, of course and off she went again.
When Sophie came home, long after she had stopped taking drugs, when we were beginning to put the whole experience behind us, we were driving one day and she said " I'll tell you something really weird that happened when I was into drugs and stuff. Do you remember that day when I was at Weather*spoons and I introduced you to those people? You know how you said they weren't my friends and that they just wanted to make me as bad as them? Well you were wrong, they were dealers and I did used to get drugs and stuff from them, well, after you left, one of them ( and she said his name but I choose to forget it and also, he is now dead, of a drugs overdose of course, so there's always that) well, he looked at me and he said " Sophie, I don't know what happened right then but what the hell are you doing with us? Why are you doing any of this shit? Whatever your reason, I won't ever give you drugs again, not ever, don't even ask because I don't want you to do this crap anymore, don't be like us, stop doing it. I'm not ever giving you drugs again" and he didn't, not ever."
She has guardian angels and although they couldn't ever stop her using her free agency to do what she chose, she was kept as safe as she would allow herself to be.
She came to me, not long after that and she curled up on the floor, at 1 o'clock in the morning and she howled and said she couldn't live that way anymore and I knew she meant it.
Maybe one day I will write more about what happened next because it's worthy of note but not today because that's not what I came here for.
The next phase in my pattern of dealing with hideous life crapola is an exhausted and grateful exhalation. A long moment of ' Oh, it's done, I did it, it's actually and honestly over' and then I am consumed with such feelings of relief and I feel as though I can pick up my head and begin to look around me.
That's where I am right now, with my Sophie girl.
I cannot get enough of her, I love being with her, I can spend all day with her and not feel I need to pull my hair out at the roots. We do the most ordinary mundane things together and we enjoy it, I have no trouble hugging her or kissing her, she doesn't feel the need to talk incessantly to keep my attention, she isn't loud and annoying ( sometimes she is because that's who she is but now she is that way when the mood calls for it, not because she just wants TO BE NOTICED AND HEARD AND LOOK AT ME!) Today she came shopping and not fun shopping, grocery shopping and she was intrigued, she is very young in many ways and she still seems to be under the impression that if I want money, I can just click my fingers and it will appear, she is under the impression that the shopping fairies come and fill the cupboards and pantry and that no-one has to actually pay for any of it. I am driven to despair over this girl's inability to manage her money in any way, shape or form, every month she gets paid and no matter how much she gets paid, it is spent within 2 days, in fact if it lasts 2 days I am impressed. She doesn't buy anything that can be seen or appreciated, it just POOFS into thin air and alcohol, she might buy an item or two of clothing that will quickly tear or get lost. As soon as her money is gone she starts to ask to borrow money and the whole cycle begins again. I have managed to stop H lending her money because he would just lend it to her and lend he some more and when she was paid, she would pay him back, have even less to spend and here we go again. So now I am the only person that lends her money and I lend her very little and I make sure she pays it all back.
So, in my quest to help her see that if she wants her money to do more for her she has to be wise with it, I have started to let her see how I make mine work for me. Instead of telling her to mind her own business when she asks how much I have, I tell her and then I show her what I have to do with it and how it is possible to make it work for you.
She will ask for money and I will say I don't have any to give her and then she will see that I buy something and shriek " you said you never had any money!" and now I tell her " no, I said I didn't have any money to give you, this is how it works Sophie. I get x amount and I decide how much of that I can/will spend. I take that amount out of the bank and then I spend it, when THAT money has gone, I have no money to spare, I tell myself that and I tell you that and that is how I do it. The money left in the bank is for other things, I don't borrow money, I don't have loans to pay for things, if I want something and I don't have anough cash to pay for it, I don't have it. The way to have money waiting for those things you would like or need is to put money to one side when yuo have it and forget it is there, tell yourself that you don't have any money to waste or buy nonsense with. I never, ever pay full price for anything because no-one needs to." Today I took her with me while I did a big shop and by the end of the day she was SO EXCITED! We parked outside her friends house as we waited for the boys to come out of school and she was telling her friend's mum what we had been doing. Such a mundane thing to do and to see her so excited and I hope, watching the message sink in a bit was such a joy.
We went to 4 supermarkets ( which is what I always do) and we bought, in bulk, whatever we use regularly that was on sale, buy one, get one free and even some buy one get 2 free offers. I do this at least once a month and that means that we have enough food and supplies that we can always live on what we have without ever having to go out and buy things that we use a lot of at full price. At the checkouts I have her my purse and let her pay as I packed, at each shop she would say something like ' How much do you reckon this will be, I bet it has to be at LEAST £168' and then when it was half that amount she would get so excited and squeal about how much stuff we had bought and how it was 'OMG you so bought like £300 worth of stuff for half that amount!! Why would anyone ever shop any other way, right that's it, I'm gonna tell everyone I know they should do this because now you don't have to buy anything for WEEKS do you?" It was so good to show her that it is possible to keep hold of your money until you see how it can work in your favour.
I am not expecting any over night miracles, I am hoping that she just might want to try it for herself and rather than run out and spend her wages in 2 days she might make it last a week and then next time 2 weeks, it'll be a long old haul but it is so exciting to do things with her and for her to actually listen and believe me!
She is trying to lose weight, we're doing it together and she is listening to me, she has cut right down on her drinking, which I'm sure will make a huge difference and she'll lose weight quicker than I do. I can't tell you how wonderful it is for her to ask my advice and then take it.
I am positively wallowing in my 'it's over, for real and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I like it' moment.


Saturday, January 01, 2011

and here begins...

Another year.
I like new things, I like new ideas, new people, new chances, new ideas and I really really like new Years. I am thrilled with the feeling of a new page, a chance to start again and decide if and how I would like to do things differently. I embrace resolutions and couldn't care less if they only last a week or so. I think people who pooh pooh it all and say 'why make a resolution when it's sure to be broken?' I think trying something to better oneself is always a good thing, I love that feeling of positivity and determination, no matter how brief it may be.
I have all the usual resolutions in mind, to eat well, get fitter, try harder etc and I have some new ones.
I want to be more aware of people, remember their birthdays before their birthdays and remember to send a card. I want to put more care into the things I do and give to people, more thought, more time and more love. I Don't want to be so aware of how I am feeling all the time that I forget to notice how other people are feeling. It is a bizarre kind of selfishness to be so depressed, it isn't at all voluntary to be depressed and I'm not saying that anyone with depression chooses to feel this way but it is incredibly easy to be swallowed up by it, to be so consumed by misery that everything else becomes distant.
The run up to Christmas was a very difficult time for me, I was overwhelmed by sadness, anxiety and almost crippled by the desire to shut myself away and stare at a wall.
My mum always taught us, by the way she lived her life ( and still lives her life)that the surest way to feel better about yourself is to serve someone else. I decided that this was the only way I would be able to crawl out of this particularly miserable pit. I decided that I would stop thinking about what I didn't have, couldn't do, was unable to change and I would find things to change, find ways to lift other people, help others.
I started simply ( and I am only writing these things because this blog is now private and because there is a reason for saying what I did that is not, I hope, self congratulatory or ego boosting) by deciding not to buy or send Christmas cards but to give the money to someone I knew, who could use the money towards their Christmas, I did it and that person was so grateful and happy, I was glad I did it but I didn't feel any different.
I watched my extended family and I noticed where they were struggling and I did things to ease their struggles, which was lovely and well appreciated and still I didn't feel any different. I decided that while it is honourable to help our friends and family when they need it, it is, to me our responsibility, it isn't noble or something that takes us outside our comfortable lives, if we can help those people we love then we should and it should be absolutely natural and expected.
I knew then that I had to reach out and do something for a stranger, someone I didn't love or even know and this, for me is incredibly difficult. I don't find it easy to approach people I don't know, I didn't want to do something facelessly ( did I make that word up? Well done me, I like that word) I didn't want to hand over money to a charity, I wanted to see a real person and help them and I decided, with a pounding heart, that when I went to do my final, before Christmas shop, I was going to get into a queue behind someone that looked as though they needed help ( oh listen to me, lady bountiful!) and I was going to pay for their shopping. The very thought of how I was going to do that and actually open my mouth and say it was enough to make my palms sweat and my bowels turn to water but I was so determined, I even prayed that when I was in the shop I would know who to queue behind and help.
I went to leave the house and darn it if H didn't decide to come with me, he never comes shopping with me and I wondered if I would still be able to do it with him there. 15 minutes into the shopping with H experience I knew I wouldn't be able to do it, he is terrible to shop with and he tutted about the price of cabbage and said how he wasn't prepared to pay *that* for the bearded dragons and he wondered if we 'really' needed this and good heavens look at the price of that, we can do with *that* if it costs that much and I wondered how on earth I was going to explain paying for a total strangers Christmas shopping when he wouldn't put a 76p bag of cabbage into the trolley. So I didn't look for a family that might need my help and I unloaded our shopping while H packed it into free cardboard boxes ( 5p for a carrier bag? I think not!) and I paid for my shopping and I felt miserable. We walked towards the doors and as we reached them I grabbed H's arm and said " Can I meet you in the car, I need to do something" he looked at me and although puzzled ( I suspect he thought I was going to buy a lottery ticket as we were next to the stand) he walked out to the car. I opened my purse, pulled all the notes I had in there and I walked back to a young couple, they looked the same age as Mel and Jordan and they had a toddler and a very little baby, beautiful girls. I could tell that they had done their shopping and added up how much it was as they went along, they had one box of sweets and one bottle of wine, a few treats and then bread and milk etc. I also recognised the look on the girls face, it was that look that screams " please let me have enough, please let me have enough" Her husband was packing their shopping and so I sort of pushed past him ( assuming he was a miserable git who had been grumbling about how much the bloody cabbage was!) and I got very close to the girl and whispered at her ( deep breath)" Oh, this is embarrassing but ...look, um well, somebody did something very kind for me and asked nothing in return but that I do something kind for someone else and so I want to do something to repay that kindness, can I give you some money towards your Christmas shopping?" ( breathe in) which was sort of true because people do kind things for me often but no-one has ever told me to pay it forward. Anyway, that's what I said because it seemed a good thing to say and her eyes filled with tears, I grabbed her hand and I pushed the notes into her hand and said " all you have to do is have a lovely Christmas and find someone you can be kind to" and her eyes brimmed and my eyes brimmed and the cashier looked puzzled because I was whispering, her husband ( the girl's not the cashier's, I have no idea where the cashier's husband was to be honest ) was saying " What? What's happening, what? Whatshesay?" the young girl was saying "Oh..... OH!" and I left and walked as quickly as I could out of Tescos with tears blinding my way, hoping I could remember where I had parked the car.
I had my Christmas right there.
I felt happy.
I stopped caring whether people bought me anything for Christmas ( they did by the way ) and I didn't for that whole day or even the day after, feel at all as though I was being smothered by misery.
I want to do more of that, I don't mean handing money to complete strangers every day, I mean noticing what people need and doing something about it and not only for people I know. It might only be helping someone carry shopping, holding open a door, actually telling a young mother their baby is beautiful instead of thinking it and telling myself she wouldn't be interested in my opinion, I never minded once when someone told me my children are beautiful or funny or well behaved ( and that did happen once I recall)
I can't change many of the things about my own life but I can try to change some of them. One step at a time.
I couldn't quite enjoy the absolute great feeling of having made someone happy because I felt I had been sneaky in not doing it while H was there and eventually I told him what I did, I mumbled about how important it had felt to me to do it and that I didn't do it when he was there in case he said tried to stop me and then I told him and I cried again and said it was absolutely the right thing to do....and he grinned at me, patted my arm and said " Oh, that'll come right back to us anyway, well done"
I do misjudge him you know, I assume he will be a grumpy old meany and that I am here to show him how to be kind and generous and then he goes and says the right thing and THEN people come and tell me how he has given them stuff and paid for them to go somewhere and I know that he is a sneaky git because he never tells ME he's done that and I love him so.

Labels: ,