Late Night Wondering

I’m currently still suffering the effects of last night, so not sure this is the best time to write a blog post, but here I am! As I’m also feeling slightly nostalgic, and hungry(!), this could go anywhere so bear with me..

When I first started writing this blog I was doing it purely to keep me on track with a new healthy lifestyle choice. Little did I know what was in store for me, in more ways than one. Life really does like to chuck surprises and obstacles in your path, doesn’t it!

In just 3 1/2 years I have worked with a personal trainer and lost weight, gained new friends, new found confidence and a husband! However I’ve also gained weight, lost my confidence, had a miscarriage and redeveloped anxiety. Do you call that 50/50?

When I used to hear people say experiences change you I didn’t really understand what they mean. I feel like I could write a book on it now! We all go through tough times, and we all deal with them differently, which is completely normal, and human. It just feels like the worst or best thing ever when it’s happening to you. Pretty much everyone you meet is dealing with something in their own way, and you most probably won’t ever know about it, which is why kindness is so important, in fact I’d go as far to say it’s vital. You never know when by simply smiling at someone you could change their whole day for the better. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love to see someone smiling at them?

Going through really sad situations definitely makes me appreciate the good times. I know this could sound really cliche, but I’m not sure how else to say it, as it’s what I now believe. It’s so easy to be stuck in the negative cycle and feel as though there’s no way out. But there is. There’s always some sort of hope, even if it feels like there isn’t.

I have never really planned how I want my life to go. I’m very good at planning other people’s lives, but more of a dreamer when it comes to my own. I mean you never know, Tom Hardy might turn up one day and offer to buy me a glass or three of Prosecco (I wish!), but for now I’m happy to daydream about getting our own house and making it a home. If I’ve learned anything in the past few years, it’s to try and not worry too much about things I can’t control (not easy for a control freak, perfectionist, anxiety suffering, emotional Piscean).

You know I said at the start of this that I wasn’t sure where it was going to go? Yeah, bit stuck now.

I sometimes feel as though I’m on hold, waiting for something but unsure of what that ‘thing’ is. Does that make any sense? It’s like being a metaphorical actor and waiting for someone to hand you the script for the next scene, only there’s no script or scene because this is my life, and that’s why I’m stuck. If I was in a particularly cheesy mood I’d say something like ‘it’s my life so only I can write the script’, but that would be really pathetic.

So for now, I know things are nowhere near on track, and I know I get frustrated a lot, but that’s OK, I think. I guess ‘watch this space’, and encourage me to have patience!

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When you doubt everything

I haven’t written anything for far too long. Things have got in the way, but that’s no excuse really.

I’m currently trying to put into sensible words how I feel after a pretty shitty 24 hours. Apart from the fact I’ve been in pain since the middle of last night (but I’ll come back to that), I am also so unbelievably angry and upset right now that I’m physically shaking.

I like to think I’m a nice person. I’m polite, I make an effort with everyone I meet, I try to make people feel welcome. I like to make other people happy. I hate seeing anyone upset or hurt. I would never willingly hurt someone else. So, when after making an effort for a few months to make someone feel welcome and as though they have a friend, sharing personal information to show they aren’t alone, and giving up time to help them, you would expect that it would be reciprocated, or at least appreciated. Not this time. Instead, I feel completely used and humiliated. I also thought I was an adult and didn’t have to deal with childish behaviour from another adult. Clearly I was wrong.

Without going in to too much detail, someone I thought would eventually be a good friend decided to lie to my face yesterday when I asked if everything was OK, and waited until they could hide behind their phone to tell me I’d crossed a line. I mean I’d laugh if I wasn’t so furious. Apparently me being friendly was me essentially coming on to this person. I’m trying so hard not to swear right now, but it’s just ridiculous. If talking about my mental health, my low self esteem and the worst time of my life (my miscarriage), along with spending time offering advice and helping this person’s other half to find a job, constitutes as flirting, then I am clearly behind the times. I thought that was empathy and friendship. I also think they’re a complete coward.

I have spent the last 24 hours doubting myself and everything I thought I knew. I now don’t really want to talk to anyone in case anything I say is taken the wrong way. I am the first to admit that I can be cheeky but only ever in a fun way. I know I go on about being in love with Tom Hardy, but who doesn’t like a celebrity. That’s normal. I can be silly and loud, but most of the time that is an act to cover up my low mood, low self esteem and crippling anxiety. It’s easier to pretend things are OK than put the effort in to explaining the reality. It’s really tiring.

On top of this I’ve been in pain since 2am due to a flare up of my PCOS. It’s more than likely an ovarian cyst but it really, really hurts, and not just in my side. I’m bloated and tired, and keep getting stabbing pains all round my pelvis and stomach. I can usually deal with this, but right now I just feel defeated. The only positive I can give you is that I haven’t cried.

I spoke to my therapist a few months ago about feeling let down by people when they didn’t meet my expectations, and he said what if you didn’t have any expectations? I couldn’t get my head around that idea. For whatever reason I seem to be programmed to have these ridiculously high expectations of myself, and somehow assume everyone else has the same. In answer to his question, I said that would be awful, as I somehow associated having no expectations with having no hope. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s how my head works.

So, right now I am fed up, tired, sore both physically and emotionally, and disappointed. I don’t want to change who I am, but situations like this really make me doubt myself and question everything.

Christmas Cracking

I love Christmas. Always have. The excitement of buying surprise gifts for loved ones, writing endless amounts of cards and getting covered in glitter, and seeing twinkly lights as you walk by houses, shops, markets. All of it just makes me happy. But this year is different. This year the happiness just isn’t there. Well it is, but it’s been dialled down by about 80%.

This time last year was what I have fondly called my Disney happy ending. I had just completed a course of CBT and was feeling pretty positive about things. I had been promoted at work, but most importantly I was about to marry the most wonderful man. So all in all, pretty amazing Christmas!

The wonderful man has proved himself to be beyond wonderful over the last 12 months. Without him I do not know what kind of mess I would be in. He really is my rock. We have had a pretty awful 6 months, and he has somehow got me through it, and I hope that somehow I have done the same for him. As you may know I had a miscarriage in July, and since then I have been up, down, all over, in terms of emotions. Without sounding like a walking cliche, I have good and bad days. I feel guilty to say it but sometimes I forget what happened for a few minutes, but then I remember and it’s just heartbreaking. If anything I feel as though I’m struggling more now than when it happened. I realise that this is due to me working through the grief, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I feel as though I’m stuck between depression and anger, what a great place to be caught(!)

I managed to get some counselling sessions through work, which has been a real saviour. My GP wasn’t able to help and I’m currently on a waiting list of at least 6 months to see someone. One issue I would like to raise is that at no stage have I been offered bereavement counselling until I started seeing the counsellor from work. Why is miscarriage not seen as a bereavement? How is losing a baby not bereavement? I don’t know how or who to raise this with, but it most definitely needs addressing.

Anyway, the counsellor I’m seeing is fantastic. He’s very matter of fact and straight with me, which is just what I need. My anxiety has made a vengeful return and brought its best friend, depression, with it. I hadn’t really considered that I might be depressed, but it turns out I am. Another one for the list! For now I’m choosing not to take medication, but I am not against it. I just want to make some progress with my emotions. Hang on though please as I’m about to go all ‘naive silly girl’ on you. I just want to feel happy again. I just want to get up, get ready, go to work and not have to worry about any comments about children, or families, or pregnancy. Like I said, naive. I’d just like my filter that cuts out things that upset me to start working again, but I fear it’s beyond repair. My emotions seem to be on constant high alert with tears bubbling under the surface just waiting to pour down my face at any given moment. I just want to be me again. I miss me.

So, back to Christmas! I want to enjoy it. I want to be excited and happy, like I have been every other year since I can remember. At the same time I want to hide away with my husband and wait for it all to be over. If my pregnancy had continued I would have been finishing work tomorrow and going on maternity leave. Instead I’ll be writing a list of jobs to do when I go back in January. At the moment all I can think is I have to just make it through to February, when I was due, and then I can think about starting my life again. I feel as though until February I’m on pause, as though I can’t move on until then. Again I know that’s naive, but right now it’s my coping mechanism. I also know that come February I probably won’t feel any different, but I’ll reassess that once I get there.

For now I am so looking forward to celebrating our first wedding anniversary on Tuesday, just the two of us.

Tommy’s #misCOURAGE campaign

Today Tommy’s are launching a nationwide campaign, that I am fully behind, called #misCOURAGE.

What is the aim of the campaign?

The aim of the campaign is to end the silence surrounding miscarriage. By launching this campaign, Tommy’s are hoping to encourage anyone who has experienced miscarriage directly or indirectly to speak up, share their experience and realise they are not alone.

Statistics surrounding miscarriage

Sadly 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, yet the silence surrounding the subject is deafening. Tommy’s recently carried out a survey to see just how women feel following their miscarriage. 6,000 women filled in the survey. Here are just some of the statistics:

  • 79% of women said they felt like a failure following their miscarriage
  • 85% didn’t think people understood what they had gone through
  • 70% felt guilty
  • 2/3 found it hard to talk about their experience

The current UK policy regarding miscarriage means that women are not investigated until they have suffered 3 miscarriages. As Tommy’s CEO Jane Brewin says, this is unacceptable. With this in mind, Tommy’s are aiming to halve the number of miscarriages by 2030 through funding medical research, and hope to open the UK’s first National Miscarriage Research Centre in April 2016.

Personal Experience

I know I have experienced all of the emotions mentioned above over the last few months, multiple times, following my miscarriage. I also know now I am not alone in feeling this way. Accepting that it wasn’t my fault is harder. With the help of fantastic charities like Tommy’s, I would like to think more women, and their partners, friends and families, will feel able to speak out about their experience and therefore realise they are not alone.

How You Can Get Involved 

There are a number of ways you can get involved in supporting Tommy’s #misCOURAGE campaign:

More Information on Miscarriage and Useful Contacts

The Tommy’s website  has lots of very helpful information regarding miscarriage. There is also a useful contacts page in case you need to speak to someone.

Eat healthily, yes, but eat well, definitely!

Cake, chocolate, bread, biscuits. Let’s face it, that sounds like a pretty nice list of foodstuffs, right? Well, yes, but also no. We’ve all heard the statement ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’, and we’ve probably all rolled our eyes and thought of unprintable responses, yet I can see the logic in it. OK now you’re rolling your eyes at me, but just stay with me on this one for a few paragraphs.

Two years ago I realized I was in need of a lifestyle overhaul. I know that sounds quite dramatic, but I was very unhappy and had reached the point of needing to make some sort of change. So, in a nutshell, I enlisted the help of a Personal Trainer who turned my eating habits on their head and somehow persuaded me to go to the gym. Initially the idea of having a Personal Trainer seemed completely crazy, and the thought of stepping foot in a gym was laughable, yet it happened.

I am gluten intolerant and had known for years that anything I ate that contained even a little bit of gluten made me feel very unwell, but I carried on eating it until the PT intervened! I can be pretty stubborn, but on this occasion I will admit that following someone else’s rules on food made a dramatic difference, for the better. Cutting out gluten completely stopped me feeling so bloated, and somehow gave me more energy. I was so used to feel exhausted in the middle of the day, mostly due to poor eating habits, that this sudden increase in energy levels was a great side effect.

Along with the energy increase, inch loss and weight loss, the introduction of a proper exercise routine produced some very surprising results. I have anxiety and PCOS, so tend to suffer with ‘low moods’ and low self-esteem, all of which I ‘dealt’ with by burying my head in the sand. Once I started training a couple of times a week, I noticed my moods started to improve. I would get real adrenalin ‘highs’ and even though every part of me was aching, I’d feel much more positive. The hardest part of exercise is starting, whether that’s stepping foot inside the gym, putting your trainers on and taking that first step outside, or literally dipping your toe in the water. BUT once you do, you don’t want to turn back.

Making progress, no matter how slowly is just the best incentive to keep going. You can tell yourself 1000 times ‘I can’t’, but how do you know if you don’t try? I know that’s a cliché, but it is true. I have made every excuse under the Sun to not train, to not try something new, but I’ve never felt better for not giving it a go.

Let me just push the boundary of how many cheesy statements and clichés I can fit into one piece a little more. Due to my cleaner eating and training regime, I had more energy. This meant I was more inclined to say ‘yes’ if friends suggested doing something after work or at weekend. I actually wanted to socialize rather than hide away scowling at those who were out having fun. I spent money on training gear (the horror!), and I started tweeting about my grueling workouts. I know, sickening.

To be serious, for just a few sentences…
If I had read an article like this two years ago I would have thought ‘she’s clearly been paid to say all of this’, or something along those lines. The truth is, and I do always try to be as honest as possible without being offensive, it is not easy. Changing your eating habits means changing the way you think. Viewing food more as fuel to prepare and repair your body rather than as a way to reward yourself is very difficult. Going to the gym and being put through your paces feels like the worst idea ever. The biggest hurdle is you. The self-doubt that you can’t do it, that you will fail, so what’s the point. You. You are the point. Yes, it’s difficult. Yes, it will hurt. But I promise you it will be worth it.

Just to prove my halo does slip, I most definitely do eat cake, chocolate, bread and biscuits, not every day, but I do still eat them. I even drink alcohol, occasionally, and I don’t always make my gym sessions. I try to ensure my overall lifestyle is healthy, mind and body, because one won’t work without the other.

Do you still like me after reading that??