I have come to the conclusion, after much pondering, that I may well have had my second breakdown/burnout/whatever it’s name is now.

The weird thing is…I didn’t feel it, as such. I’ve felt crushing anxiety – that much is true. About a year ago I upped my low dose antidepressant because of all the bother that was starting the academy take over. So, yes, the anxiety was there.

What wasn’t there, was that deep dark numb pit that I fell in. The one that, last time, I hadn’t known was swallowing my whole path until I was in it head first. When I think back to that time – weirdly around this time of year too (!!!!) in 2017, I can’t remember a great deal. I remember that first moment. I remember days staring out the window at the field opposite accompanied by my cat and a hot drink. I remember that I didn’t shower much and I wore my depression hat – a glittery silver woolly hat – to hide my grief.

So no, that hasn’t happened. I’ve avoided the deep dark pit. Don’t get me wrong, a few times I’ve thought I’ve seen him far up ahead but I was wrong.

Anxiety- yes. Depression – no. However, there are signs that I’ve not been quite right recently.

First, Wildcard noticed. He notices everything. Second, I’ve put weight on and my nails are short. Third, I can’t get on top of my house. You’d think with not working for 6 months I would have mastered it. Despite feeling like I’ve tried nearly every day, I’ve failed. Completely. More recently, I’ve even stopped with my facials and putting make up on and I think that was why Wildcard was so suspicious when I went to the Christmas Market spruced up like a turkey. This last month I’ve stopped using the Fabulous App. I’ve stopped drawing and painting.

There is sufficient evidence there to say that despite feeling otherwise, I’ve had some sort of mental episode. Why haven’t I felt the depression? Well, it could be my tablets working. It could be that I am generally happier (that needs some pondering). It could be because of Wildcard. He’s the only new thing in my life.

I’m avoiding stuff though. I’m plodding along, doing whatever I actually do each day and avoiding a whole heap of crap in the corner. I know I need to deal with it. I know that if I don’t, eventually that pile of crap is going to devour me. I just can’t seem to start or sustain a start.

I was notified this week that I have been writing this blog for five years. Five years! My blog is nowhere near as successful as some, and particularly some of you who read my blog. I know in part that’s because I don’t always put myself out there and join in with other blogs. Something else I stopped doing and need to start. But my near 500 followers mean a lot to me, the ones that have been with me for a long time (Anna and Susie) and those who comment and give me advice (Kay and Writerswithoutwords). Thank you to all of you. 🥰🥰

It was a shock though to realise that I started this blog because my life had been through a major life changing event- the permanent separation from my husband. I wanted a new life, a new me, and this blog was going to document that. My Cinderella style transformation.

Yeah. That hasn’t happened.

Life has hit me with a few more catastrophic events to deal with.

And yet, I am a very different person than I was five years ago. My priorities have changed. My goals. I’m still lost but in a different way.

I’ve written before about not quite knowing how I want my life to be. Not being sure how or where to start.

I think I’ve realised that there is a really good reason I haven’t done much over the last six months.

I just wasn’t ready.

Six months rest and recuperation is nothing over the course of a whole life time. So my friend wisely said.

And so, whilst I didn’t feel it the same, I acknowledge the time nonetheless.

I was not ready. But now I am.

Kick

Wednesday was a day of promise and productivity. Thursday was a slump day that slid into a morose Friday.

I’ve bought a book from my favourite motivation speaker, Mel Robbins. I couldn’t read it. I’ve still got my online interview to complete and two courses to start. I did neither.

Instead, I meandered around the house, aimlessly trying to find motivation only to somehow find myself back in bed. My settlement letter finally arrived – recorded delivery, so they didn’t need to keep calling to ask if it had arrived.

My cat walked in dripping with blood from an unknown source. A £220 trip to the vet later and we are still hoping he will be ok.

I had two missed calls from an unknown mobile number. No messages left. That had me in an anxious state for hours until they called back and it was Occupational Health organising a meeting.

And whilst the celebration of Eid means my gorgeous boyfriend is less hangry and tired, three days of family time means reduced time for me. He still called and text regularly and told me he loved me and missed me, but calls were short. I know I am being completely selfish here. I just really needed him and wanted him.

My sister chose this week to have another argument about him. Whilst inunderstand her caution and wariness, the only arguments she has for me not being with him are:

His nationality

Her disbelief in long distance relationships.

Hardly concrete arguments. I said she is prejudiced and negative and whilst I understand her concern, she doesn’t need to bring it up all the time and be critical without just cause. Apparently because she loves me and has known me the longest, I should listen to her. I do, I just don’t need to hear it all the time. Or see the look on her face.

My other sister, whilst generally supportive and stuck in the middle, is going through her own crisis at the moment. Covid has delayed her nursing career starting (ironic, I know). She is anxious, paranoid and is arguing with her husband. She doesn’t listen and she doesn’t let things go. She is also constantly needing financial help – fine, when I have the money, but I don’t know how long I will have it for.

So, in summary: I’m feeling very, very sorry for myself. I feel like I am kicked from all angles.

And then…

Last night, my ex came by my house to pick up my daughter and to collect various items as it was his turn to have the children.

My beautiful boy: my ADHD, autistic 14 year old was in despair. He wouldn’t speak. He didn’t want to leave. He started crying, hyperventilating. Finally, finally, after a big hug he opened up.

He hates seeing me sad. He is worried about me being alone. He is scared that I am going to commit suicide.

And that, friends, was the biggest kick up the backside, slap in the face, reality check I needed.

How I handle this situation is going to affect my children. In a way, this could teach them the power of resilience and positive thinking.

Or, I could continue to feel sorry for myself and let them suffer as they watch me indulgence self pity.

So, this morning, I have got up: washed, dressed, applied make up. I’ve planned my meals for the week. I’m now going to start some housework. This weekend I will get the house in order. Monday, I am going to get my career sorted. Or start to.

I’m going to have bad days. That’s normal. My kids need to see that too. But they need to see that giving up is not an option, and the strong mother they have known is still there.

Stressed to self-satisfaction

It snowed last night. Not excessively, but enough to cover the ground and add an extra chill to the house.

Problem is, I have ran out of wood.

My house is heated by a multi-fuel stove which is attached to the central heating system. Dad always maintained the heating. You’d hear the familiar sound of him making a fire every morning and the sound of him cutting wood in the afternoon. It was a source of pride for him to do that until he became too ill to.

From that moment until now, I have bought wood. It is not cheap and a bone of contention as there is wood stored in my Dad’s shed but most is too big for the fire. The log splitter broke recently, as did the mitre saw.

I have replaced the mitre saw. But it is still in its box since I discovered there would be some assembly needed and I have no idea what I am doing and am scared of cutting my hand off.

This last week or so, I’ve been going out and breaking up wood with a rather blunt axe. Obviously, this has limitations. Up until yesterday, there was enough narrow wood for me to use.

Today, I woke up to the beauty of the snow and the sinking feeling that I have no wood.

Why have I not bought wood, I hear you ask?

I tried to. I ordered some over a week ago. It still hasn’t arrived and I have no idea why. The man is now ignoring my texts. It is Bank Holiday Monday and I refuse to pay £6 for a small bag of logs at the garage that won’t last half a day when I have a shed full of wood outside.

So, I glumly stayed in bed this morning, stressed and wondering what I was to do. I felt sorry for myself. I felt alone. I missed my Dad and the knowledge that he was always there to help me and I have no one to ask for help.

Eventually, I got up, put on my warm coat, walking boots and bobble hat and made myself go outside. Maybe, maybe, I would find some if I looked hard enough.

The brightness of the day, the crunch of the snow underfoot and probably the pride in myself for getting up and trying, put a little bounce in my step.

I searched, I put some effort in and managed to fill a large bag with wood. I also managed to find a bag of coal which I also thought I had ran out of.

I could have stayed in bed sulking and feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I made myself get up and get motivated and this time it paid off.

I’m stronger than I think.

Stressed to self-satisfaction

It snowed last night. Not excessively, but enough to cover the ground and add an extra chill to the house.

Problem is, I have ran out of wood.

My house is heated by a multi-fuel stove which is attached to the central heating system. Dad always maintained the heating. You’d hear the familiar sound of him making a fire every morning and the sound of him cutting wood in the afternoon. It was a source of pride for him to do that until he became too ill to.

From that moment until now, I have bought wood. It is not cheap and a bone of contention as there is wood stored in my Dad’s shed but most is too big for the fire. The log splitter broke recently, as did the mitre saw.

I have replaced the mitre saw. But it is still in its box since I discovered there would be some assembly needed and I have no idea what I am doing and am scared of cutting my hand off.

This last week or so, I’ve been going out and breaking up wood with a rather blunt axe. Obviously, this has limitations. Up until yesterday, there was enough narrow wood for me to use.

Today, I woke up to the beauty of the snow and the sinking feeling that I have no wood.

Why have I not bought wood, I hear you ask?

I tried to. I ordered some over a week ago. It still hasn’t arrived and I have no idea why. The man is now ignoring my texts. It is Bank Holiday Monday and I refuse to pay £6 for a small bag of logs at the garage that won’t last half a day when I have a shed full of wood outside.

So, I glumly stayed in bed this morning, stressed and wondering what I was to do. I felt sorry for myself. I felt alone. I missed my Dad and the knowledge that he was always there to help me and I have no one to ask for help.

Eventually, I got up, put on my warm coat, walking boots and bobble hat and made myself go outside. Maybe, maybe, I would find some if I looked hard enough.

The brightness of the day, the crunch of the snow underfoot and probably the pride in myself for getting up and trying, put a little bounce in my step.

I searched, I put some effort in and managed to fill a large bag with wood. I also managed to find a bag of coal which I also thought I had ran out of.

I could have stayed in bed sulking and feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I made myself get up and get motivated and this time it paid off.

I’m stronger than I think.

A lonely place.

Grief is a very lonely place.

The fact is, no one fully understands your grief. Before I lost my Dad, I was sympathetic to my friend who had lost hers, but I didn’t understand.

And even now that we have both lost our fathers, our grief is unique to us just like we are unique as individuals, our dad’s were unique and therefore our relationship with them was also unique.

The same can be said of me and my sisters. Whilst we understand each other’s grief for our dad better than anyone else, our grief still differs because our relationship, our memories and experiences and our personalities differ.

Grief is a lonely place.

I need you to understand, those of you who are lucky enough not to have lost someone close to you yet, that grief never goes away. That pain, that loss… The emptiness and the overwhelming emotions that come with it… They never go away. They don’t get easier.

What happened for me is that I learned to deal with it. I found a way to lock it up inside so that I could carry on with my life. But that comes with a promise – a promise that at the right time, I open it up and allow myself to feel.

The only issue with this is that sometimes you are forced to feel when you don’t want to. Grief has its own strength and power and can never be entirely tamed.

Sunday is the second anniversary of my dad’s death. The grief has been building for days, unknown, in the background. Others have noticed but I haven’t… Until I did. Until it was too much and its threatening to take over. And I have still got three days left until that day.

Be patient with those that grieve because they are trying to fight a war they will never win.

An act of kindness

I survived! My first Christmas alone. Although I wasn’t really.

The morning started off as usual. I awoke early and made a fire. I wrote in my Dad journal and waited for my children to wake and my ex to show up so he could watch them open their presents. During the present opening, I got my first message from Wild Card, wishing me Happy Christmas and asking of I was OK.

After lots of present opening, my sisters and families arrived and we had more present opening and breakfast. There was strained atmosphere at times. My sister and I have still not spoken about her decision and I’m not the only one upset with her. But Wild Card’s advice has helped – it’s her choice.

Then they all started to leave. That was harder. I could feel the tsunami threatening to overwhelm me: the fear and hurt of being alone for the rest of Christmas Day. I made a plan: I decided to keep busy and tidy up, then watch The Holiday and have some food.

First, I did my hair and put some makeup on. It’s what I would usually do and I’m very much of the opinion that if you look good, you feel good. Then I started to clean up, music on so that I was singing and dancing as I went. And then, Wild Card called.

He was true to his word – I would not be alone, he would be with me.

We talked about my morning. Him, asking repeatedly if I was alright. He had never called me on his lunch before and I was a little overwhelmed by his kindness in calling.

At the end of the call as I sensed him going, I’m ashamed to say that my bottom lip started to go. It wasn’t him exactly… Yes, recognition that a man living overseas was kind enough to see my loneliness and was trying to be there for me made me emotional. But it was also fear of being alone for the next few hours. No Christmas Dinner with my family.

I don’t know why I bother to even try to hide it because he saw straight away. The minute he saw my emotion he refused to end the call until I was OK and we had discussed what was wrong. He ended the call again with, ‘You’re not alone, remember that.’

Later in the afternoon I got a text asking if I was OK. By this point I was watching my film and had finished off a bottle of bucks fizz so I was feeling pretty good. (Totally in love with Jude Law in The Holiday – if you like rom-coms you have to watch it)

I’d cooked a piece of turkey for boxing day, made myself some mash and ate a very simplified Christmas dinner alone. It was fine. By this point, it had started to feel like just another day. The wine was probably helping too.

Wild Card called again a few hours later. Seeing that I was in a much happier place, he teased me asking how his ‘crying girl’ was. During the call, my sister and her family arrived to visit and he said hello to them all and wished them a Happy Christmas.

I took the phone into the other room and he told me to spend time with my family now. He again checked if I was OK, told me to enjoy myself and that he would speak to me soon.

Whatever his motivations, and I know some people will think they are mercenary, that man took time out of his day to call and text me repeatedly to make sure I was not alone. He checked on my wellbeing and showed me care. Whatever happens, I will never forget that act of kindness.

Morning reflections.

I’ve been up since 4.30am with two vomiting children. Now they’re settled and there is no point in me trying to go back to sleep, it’s given me time to think.

I’m conscious that my last few posts have mainly centred on Wild Card. Don’t think that is because I like him more than Second. My life is never that simple.

I’ve questioned myself about that. I still believe that I like them both but in different ways.

With Wild Card I feel excited and passionate when we talk. He makes me laugh. I’m intrigued by him. But I don’t altogether trust him either which makes me anxious. I can’t believe that he doesn’t have a number of women and I am still surprised that he likes me, although I do believe him when he says he does. You can’t fake some facial expressions. I get the impression that if we were to meet and we liked each other, I would fall hard.

Second is different, culturally as well as feelings wise. He was the front runner for a long time but circumstances – his working at sea for six weeks – has meant that we have only communicated by WhatsApp for the past few weeks. His contact is consistent and regular.

He also makes me laugh – we make each other laugh. We have similar backgrounds and interests. His messages have become more and more affectionate as the weeks have gone on. He is kind and complimentary. And I am attracted to him physically, just slightly less than Wild Card. That’s not a bad thing.

He makes me smile, inside and out. I feel more steady and secure with him, even though there are still no certainties – although he tells me he is certain we will meet.

If the messages, phone calls and video chats are anything to go by, I think we are going to get along well.

But his circumstances are even more difficult than Wild Card’s. Not only does he have a different Nationality to me, which is the reason we have not met yet and won’t do until January (he is spending Christmas at home with his parents), he lives in Scotland and has just bought a house there to be close to his children.

How would a relationship possibly work with him? We live four hours away from each other, when he’s actually in the country and not at sea or visiting his homeland.

So, if anything, I know I’m also wary of falling for him too. The reason I allowed the chats with Wild Card to initiate was to ground my growing interest in Second. Modern dating, remember?

At a friend’s advice, I’ve logged back in to Hinge in attempt to find some more connections to draw myself back into my original ‘flirt and date’ game plan. It’s not working. Despite some interest, I’ve found that I’m half-heartedly messaging back which is unfair to all involved.

The advice I have received on here has been sound and I am grateful for it. I need to keep pulling myself back, enjoy what I have in this moment. I haven’t met either man yet!!! I need to calm down. I’ve had the no-connection dates which had previously held so much promise. There is every chance that a date with either of them would turn into nothing and I am breaking the cardinal rule of no-textationships.

Grounded, grounded, grounded. Live in the moment. Learn and grow. Be open to all possibilities, good and bad.

Wish me luck.

Deja vu indeed

I still think I have done the right thing on balance although I feel bad at the same time.

I told her I couldn’t go. I said that mynsister was working, which was true, and that she wouldn’t be able to be there as much as I needed her too.

She did what I expected but what I hoped she wouldnt: she cancelled for the day and said it was too late to do anything. I wasn’t surprised, or even upset this time. She did pretty much the same thing last year. I was disappointed though, more than I let on to anyone.

So, on this beautiful bank holiday evening, I am now sat at home alone. I’ve been to the shop to buy myself dinner for one but couldn’t decide what to have. I’ve come home with a bag of salad, houmous, a packet of coconut rice and some tortilla chips. Your guess is as good as mine.

I also came home with two bottles of chilled white wine. I’m sat in my living room, sipping a glass, looking at the destruction left by my recently departed children and trying to decide what to do.

I could:

  • Watch a film of my choice, drink wine and then eat the bizzare concoction I’ve bought for tea before stumbling to bed alone. Tempting.
  • Get some music on, tidy my house and do the above. Not tempting at all but what I should do.
  • Do some drawing/painting/writing.
  • Plan my life as I do every school year start, in the knowledge that it is impossible to stick to.
  • Drink wine, feel sorry for myself, download a dating app which I then talk myself out of tomorrow and delete.
  • Plan next year’s holidays.
  • Try to work out how I am in my overdraft again.

Decisions, decisions… 😁

Just for a moment

Headlights full on,

I drive alone in the dark.

And for a moment,

Just for a moment,

I could imagine you there.

The way you would be sat,

the clothes you would wear.

The smile on your face,

the words you would say.

For a moment,

Just for a moment,

Everything was OK.

Then with a stab to the heart,

The memory went away,

And I was driving alone,

Alone in the dark.