There are no words

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We are living in strange times, well, we have been saying that for over two years now. With covid, the world had to adjust to a new way of living, is adjusting to a new way of living, and perhaps we hoped that for a little while at least this was the worst that was to come. It wasn’t.

Silence on my part does not mean I have nothing to say, I have plenty of thoughts and feelings about how things are in the world at the moment, I just cannot find the words to express it. I am not qualified to speak on subjects I know nothing about, I never liked politics or understood the many complexities of how countries interact with each other, but I feel the human effects of it in my heart. I feel for all those people.

My anxiety has been at an all time high, that’s the strange thing I find about it sometimes, while it’s a very personal experience, more often than not my spikes are caused by worry for others, usually things I cannot control. I stopped watching the news, I had to, it was feeding my anxiety and I was letting it consume me. I didn’t stop because I don’t care, I stopped because I do care and it was affecting my mental health. I need to be able to exist, I have other people to look after besides myself. I still look sometimes though, scanning the text for glimmers of hope, but I am not sure what to look for.

That’s the thing isn’t it, I can still exist, and yet that is a something that is being denied to other people.

There are no words.

What the f*** is going on?

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Sometimes I shy away from writing things. I’ll think about it for a few days, maybe even go as far as getting a notebook out to jot down a couple of sentences, but usually that’s where it stops. So instead of letting it out, I bottle it up.

I’ve said here countless times, that my writing should be for me and no one else. It’s supposed to be a tool to release all that pent up whatever the feck it is that is pent up inside me. Yet still I don’t do it, I tell myself I’ll do it the next day or the day after that but that day never comes and I find something else to fill the time when I should have been writing.

I think I have a fairly large bottle. I can absorb quite a lot before it becomes full. There’s my stuff and I’ve quite a bit going on. There’s other peoples stuff, because they like to think I am a fixer, that I can bring things back together no matter what it is. There’s the clown, because I have to wear a mask and make other people happy, even though I am struggling myself. Then there is the sponge, that magic place inside me that soaks up all of peoples problems, because it’s easier for them to offload than to actually deal with it. Oh look, here comes the fixer!

Do I and my many facets mind this? Normally, no. I like to feel useful, I like to be helpful and sometimes it’s also nice to be needed. But when all of those things collide and everyone needs everything all at once, well then my bottle starts to fill up pretty quick and I start to feel like I am drowning.

I can feel the quick fill starting. This newest anxiety spike will not give me peace. Between work and fighting an infection last week I am so tired. My brain pieces together all the little things people tell me I do wrong and convinces me I am the worst person in the world. Comments made, perhaps just in passing make me doubt myself and the things I do.

My magic sponge absorbs it all and I say nothing.

But here’s the thing. There are small changes inside me, little glimmers of hope that a few of my brain cells are showing signs of resistance. Perhaps that is what happens when ones bottle becomes full, you move from quiet acceptance to wanting to jump up and down while screaming ‘well if you don’t like it f*** off’ and believe me, there have been a few times this week I have wanted to scream just that. I didn’t mind you….well not yet anyway. As someone great once said, sadly, I don’t know who, ‘all great things start with small changes’ and that is very true.

Something else that is true is that I should write more when I need to, because it really is a good release. Better out that in, and now it’s out, I feel better already!

Spring Clean time maybe?

I think for me there is a certain time of the year when all things spring clean related start to happen. Now when I say they start to happen, I mean I start to think about it, it doesn’t always happen happen, if you catch my drift. The days are getting longer and the snowdrops in the garden have started to poke through so that gives me hope that spring is on the way.

On this occasion I am actually talking about a spring clean of my blog, so thankfully that’s a task I can do while sitting down, I’m marginally clever sometimes when I want to be, I don’t want to overdo it after all ffs.

I’ve been reading a few posts of late about the do’s and don’ts when it comes to your blog. I kinda think that after 8 years I’ve probably pretty much got all the don’ts covered so perhaps it’s time to cautiously approach the do’s.

The first one I read was about updating the About page, so I thought that’s a good place to start, it’s been a while since I have given it any attention, it does after all say I am in my early 40’s and that is soooo last year, or last 10….oh never mind. So I load it up and have a look and you know what I still like it, and I think to myself how many people will really read it anyway. It’s weird and doesn’t really make much sense, which explains me perfectly I think. I mean if I went right in with the hey there, I’m a 50 year old introvert with mental health issues, I’m not sure anyone would come back. So I’m hoping for a kind of lure them in with a bit of humour and perhaps they will think, wow this is so weird I must come back. Actually, the way I describe it I’d think my about page was awesome, it really isn’t, it’s average at best, but that’s also what you get with this blog, so job done!

Then there are the 566 posts that I have written over the life time of my blog. No one ever scrolls back, or do they? So do I leave them, or do I update them, or do I just go all out full on clean and delete them, banished forever to the trash can full of spam comments. I haven’t thought that far ahead as yet, because to be honest with the little bit I have managed so far, like changing the picture on the about page, my age and the year for the copywrite, I’m about worn out and ready to collapse into a comfortable chair with a cup of coffee and a tube of Smarties.

That said, in 2022 I also hope to do a spring clean of my mind, so expect more posts…..maybe :)

Will you be making any changes to your blog in 2022?

2021 in Review

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I wanted to write a review of 2021 and tell you all the exciting things I had done, this was as far as I got……

…it. was. shite.

I mean if I left it there, this could be one of the shortest posts I have ever written, and believe me, in 2021, that is a thing there was a lack of, posts. I wrote a grand total of 5 posts, granted, that was one more than the year before and I could argue that I went for quality over quantity, but I think that is more of a case of me trying to convince myself than you.

So what did I do in 2021 then, because clearly I was not busy updating my blog. I got sick, that was a thing. At the start of the year my gall bladder problems got worse. Middle of the year I ended up in hospital because the gallstones hated me so much they gave me pancreatitis. I spent 5 months recovering, going to scans and appointments and worrying, I did a lot of worrying, sometimes I shared it with others, but most of the main ones I carried myself. Being sick is very lonely, it’s not something that anyone can really help you with and you just have to go with the flow and let time sort things out, which is something that someone with anxiety finds very difficult, because the weight of it never goes away until the problem does.

At the end of October I was able to go back to work, I was nervous because I had been away for so long and also as I did not know how going back would affect my illness. I lasted a week and a half until following another gallbladder attack I was again hospitalised with pancreatitis, this time my gallbladder was removed.

Thankfully in the middle of all this my large mass that I had mentioned in a previous produced a clear biopsy, however it is effecting my bladder and bowel so I am now on an urgent list for a second surgery to have to it removed. It never rains but it pours it would seem, but at least things are moving forward.

I didn’t write about any of this between July and now because there were too many unknowns, too many results still to come. I didn’t want to write about it and say all is well and then a result comes in and knocks the wind from my sails. Yesterday I saw my surgeon regarding the gallbladder side of things. Stomach biopsies have returned as normal and the pancreatitis, while it will not go away, should settle now the gallbladder is out as long as I am careful. The gallbladder removal itself will not cure the pancreatitis attacks, but it should hopefully lessen the amount of them. He has signed me off.

So 2022 starts a new chapter in my life where I learn to adjust my diet to having no gallbladder, where I run to the loo when I eat something I shouldn’t and where I also try not to eat too many sweets and put back on all the weight I lost when I was sick. I dread the next op, but I know it is something that has to happen, so as above, I am trying to go with the flow.

2021 was the year when COVID still didn’t go away. We lost some family friends and by and large kept to ourselves. The Fathership was diagnosed with Emphysema but with his new inhaler he’s doing ok.

In each of my hospital visits I met the most lovely ladies who touched my heart. In May it was someone who reminded me of my Mum and in November, it was perhaps one of the bravest ladies I have ever met as she gracefully battled cancer. Sadly neither of them are with us any more, but I hope the Mothership was there to greet them when they were called home. I can guarantee she probably said to them, isn’t that daughter of mine a right pain in the arse!

So here’s the thing, 2021 was honestly, a bag of shite, but there were still good bits in it. There always are good bits among the bad. I might have lost friends throughout the year, but I also made new ones. Some I thought had gone, returned, I guess that’s the circle of life.

I am proud of myself. I have mental health issues, and despite what I faced last year I walked out the other side of 2021.

I have no plans for 2022, what would be the point. Last year showed me that we have no idea what is around the corner, so perhaps it’s just better to keep putting one foot in front of the other and take things one day at a time.

Ok, maybe one plan for 2022….to perhaps write 6 posts???

Happy New Year to you all.

Looking back

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When I think about my time here, now going on for nine years, I can see that I have changed so much over that time. There’s been a lot, recovery from the alien leg incident, the Motherships dementia and her eventual passing and also all of the things relating to my own mental health.

The past couple of years have brought a new set of challenges, illness, COVID and changes to and the loss of some friendships. That’s one thing about life, it never stops and it is always changing, whether we are prepared for it or not. I turned 50, just a number I know, but still a significant one in terms of life, because while things have not always been a bed of roses, existing for half a century is certainly something to celebrate right? In my head I still feel like I am 18 years old and I get a little bit nervous when I am expected to adult, but somehow I manage to bumble my way through it.

Even though I am not here often, I love this place. It has always been a bit of a refuge for me, reading what my friends have to say on their blogs and also what they choose to comment on mine. We never really understand how our words might affect others, but there is no better feeling when someone stops by to tell you, as recently happened to me. Those words were something I needed to hear at that time, so thank you Joe for commenting on my about page, it means more than you know.

I tell myself I should write more, I know I should, but sometimes it feels like I just write the same things over and over. Occasionally I will read things that I have already written and I think, holy cow, did I write that. Other times I can remember exactly how I was feeling at that time, the moment, the place and perhaps even the music I listened to as I tried to formulate my thoughts into something legible.

I was never big on the whole social media side of things, that’s just not me, and as life changed I didn’t have the same time to put into it as I had at the start. That said, in the beginning I had no idea how much time writing a blog and trying to further it would take, that was certainly a wake up call.

I have met some of the most amazing people and there are also others who are no longer with us. People who made us think, or made us smile and undoubtedly left an empty space in either our heads or our hearts.

This is a fantastic community and there are no set rules as to what your place in it should be. Don’t try to be someone else, because the weight of walking in someone else’s footprints will be a heavy one. Just be you, be true to yourself and write what your heart desires, it will always resonate with someone, even if they do not stop by to tell you it did.

Thank you for still being here with me, despite the fact that I am not with you as often as I would like :)

WTF is it with…..

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…junk comments these days. It’s like they multiply. No matter how many times I empty the junk folder, it is always full when I return. Perhaps I should return more often, so this is kind of my own fault isn’t it. Anyway, moving on, that is not actually why I stopped by, it was just something that irritated me on my journey and I thought I would share it, because I am nice like that :)

How have you all been? The strange goings on in the world continue, the return to normality that some have been dreaming of is not yet here, albeit there is perhaps a glimmer of light in the horizon. Me personally, well I’m still hoping for a blended mix of the old and the new, fingers crossed.

So I was in hospital, that was a thing that happened, oh way back in May now. The dreaded gallstones decided to play dirty and introduce themselves to my pancreas. Clearly they didn’t get the memo about social distancing and decided this was a space they would like to muscle in on, thoughtless little shits. So I’m also sure you know that being in hospital comes with all the tests, bloods, scans, not just one variety, noooo I had them all, CT, MRCP and Ultrasound. Then after the scans come all the things that you didn’t even know you had, like a large mass, stranding / weird things around the gallbladder, a hiatus hernia. I mean ffs, I though the gallstones was enough to be getting on with, but apparently not.

The current situation is that I am waiting on the results of tests. I’m finding that consultants don’t really talk to you, they talk around you and mention things like tumours and anomalies, but don’t really tell you why or if this is something that you need to actually worry about, bearing in mind I have anxiety and worry about E V E R Y T H I N G. Thankfully for me, in the last visit the mention of tumour was preceded with I don’t think it’s a…. so I hope they are right. Anyone going through this, my heart goes out to you, it is a very unsettling time. There is something going on in my body though and I hope they find out what it is soon so I can at least have an explanation for the daily pain.

Being off work has been challenging for me. I am so used to working that for the first few weeks I felt an incredible guilt that I was letting people down even though I knew myself that I was not well, very little tired me out, and it took a while to build up my eating routine again. Thankfully this last week I have not been tiring as quickly, I can tidy a little bit more before I have to sit down, but I’m not yet at the stage where I can return to any kind of normality. It’s incredibly frustrating. That said, I am thankful that I am still here typing, another lady who came into the hospital at the same time as me with the same thing didn’t make it out again.

Being in hospital was a real eye opener. We hear all these stories of the fabulous NHS and the work they have done throughout this pandemic, but honestly, from the outside, we have no idea. Those nurses are incredibly busy, they never stop, I know for sure I could not do what they do, never mind anything else, I would not have the patience, especially for those people who treat it like a hotel stay. I’m incredibly grateful for the care I received during my stay.

So I guess in the grand scheme of life, this is the next hurdle to face. Most days I am ok, and sometimes I cry, but I think that’s to be expected, I mean apart from anything else I’m probably being smacked in the face by the menopause too, so the fecking hormones are almost as problematic as the gallstones.

Anyway, what’s new with all of you, tell me a good story, actually just tell me a story, we have to take the rough with the smooth!

What a week……

I really need to look at updating my emoji / bitmoji thingy ma jig, I mean this one has been with me for years now and I don’t really look like that any more, actually that’s not true, my face has that look on it quite a lot!

I was very glad to see Friday this week and pelt myself head long into the weekend. Friday itself was a bit of a wash out because I spent most of the early morning and I mean EARLY morning, like 1am pacing the floor in pain and throwing up into a bucket, f@*kin gallstones! That’s the third attack in two weeks.

It was one of those weeks where my mind was like a washing machine, constantly turning, full of bubbles and in the end, full on spin. I just could not settle myself, yes of course the old anxiety played a part, but there were also darker forces at work, gremlins I think, they definitely got into my system. I wrote this e-mail, I even got as far as sending it to my boss and then when I had to go back and check something and I read it over I was like what the actual feck was I thinking, it was the biggest pile of garbage, thank goodness for the recall function.

Wednesday was a day off, thank you St Patrick, but when I went to work on Thursday it felt like a Monday and I mentally reminded myself about five times to put the bins out before remembering I didn’t have to.

It’s been a testing few weeks what with the Fathership not being the best and the gallstones and all things COVID and the thought of returning to normal and I think the few brain cells that I have left either could not cope, or had a wee melt down, well that’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it!

I’m hoping this week will be a better one, with less gremlins and more legible e-mails, wish me luck!

I was catching up on reading this week and also searching for new people to follow, so if you have any suggestions for good blogs I am all ears and would be grateful for any suggestions, I like the humorous / life stuff if you know any like that.

What’s new with all of you?

It’s Mothering Sunday

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Sometimes I’m not sure my sense of humour is appreciated. I was at the Pharmacy a couple of weeks back and while paying for my goods, they tried the old, have you seen these that we have on offer trick. I’m a nice person, I hope, so I looked and said, oh yes they are lovely, but not for me thanks. She said, oh well what about one for your Mum for Mother’s Day and I laughed and said I’m not sure she needs one of those, she’s six feet under. OK so maybe I shouldn’t have but I thought it better to make light of the situation than to just turn around and say my mothers dead. She said I’m really sorry, and I said, don’t be, in the end it was a blessing, she had dementia.

The Fathership and I went to visit her grave yesterday, to leave flowers from my Sister and I. We sat in the car until the rain stopped, typical Norn Irish weather, rain one minute, then sunshine, then hail. On the second sunshine we made a dash for it.

It’s a really beautiful graveyard, but it’s cold, there is always a wind blowing. The snowdrops Dad planted last year have been and gone, but the wreaths that were laid at Christmas still provide a pop of colour as did the addition of the posy we left today.

When we came home I started thinking about what she would have made of this whole pandemic and how we would have coped, not being able to go out and all stuck in the house together. I have to be honest and say I think it would have been a recipe for disaster. The Fathership has not been well either, so I thought about him trying to get her dressed in the morning when he himself was getting breathless from just walking up the stairs. I thought about me and my effin gallstones and who would cook for them, put her to bed or get up in the middle of the night to change her if I was sick too, and I thought, maybe things do happen for a reason.

To all the carers, I can only imagine what you are going through. I know first hand how difficult if can be, and that’s without the addition of a pandemic. You have my admiration and hugs.

When the Dr’s finally saw the Fathership after two weeks and confirmation of a negative COVID test, we were given a letter and sent straight to the emergency department. Being all things COVID, I wasn’t allowed to stay with him, so I went to the car and cried for 45 minutes until I had no tears left, because the last time I had come up the road, to that hospital, at that time of night, it had been for the Motherships final flight and I wasn’t ready to let another one go.

Thankfully 4.5 hours later out he came and we were able to go home. Further tests have been able to tell us he has COPD / Emphysema, so I guess we just have to wait and see where that one takes us.

I’m an introvert, I don’t have a lot to complain about where the new normal is concerned to be honest, I’m more anxious about things returning to a version of the old normal. But in amongst it all, for me, there are things to be grateful for, like the fact my Mother missed this. I’m grateful that she didn’t have to wonder why people stepped away from her hugs. That she didn’t think she wasn’t allowed to go to church anymore, due to it being closed. That she didn’t hate us for keeping her in the house, when there was nothing else we could have done.

That version of my mother is the one who is six feet under.

So, to the Mum who made smiley faces from angel delight and whipped cream, whose perfume I used to smell as I walked up the stairs, to the women who loved my father and my Sister and I and worked hard to give us a good life. To the woman who was a nurse and a carer herself and who laughed and danced and sang (even if it was out of tune), Happy Mother’s Day. I love you, and I miss you.

Here she goes again ffs……

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The picture above has no relevance to this post whatever, I just liked it, so here it is….enjoy?

So there it is, and here I am, struggling a little it has to be said with the new blocks and paragraphs system for writing, but I’m typing away like a good un and hoping that by some miracle of modern something or other it will look ok when both you and I have to read it.

It’s that time of the year again. WordPress will very shortly tell me that I have reached another anniversary, this time 8 years I believe. This is perhaps the longest I have stuck at anything, with the exception of my job, although I am not sure that you could call writing perhaps one or two posts a year sticking at something. I miss it, writing that is, I miss it a lot. I also miss the way my old brain worked and my sense of humour but age and life has got in the way of both, so I’ve just got to suck it up and adapt.

Usually around this time I also have mental conversations with myself where I discuss whether to carry on or give up, questioning if it is worth paying for domains that I rarely use. Sometimes I think it isn’t and I consider leaving and then I log into the app and I go to the reader and I catch up on all the things I have missed and I see all the people that I love and I think, I cant go, not yet anyway.

A couple of weeks back I did just that and I logged in and I found people I had not spoken to in such a long time, and then I read posts from a few of the people who have been with me on this journey pretty much from the start, albeit with a few breaks in between and it was like someone had given me the warmest hug, it made my heart so happy to read their words.

I’m never going to be the world’s greatest blogger, and nor would I want to be, it’s like a full time job at the start ffs. What I do want to be is here, as much as I can. If I only write two posts a year, then so be it. If no one reads what I write, that’s fine too, it’s for me anyway, but as I have detailed in countless posts before, that is something I lose sight of.

So maybe I will stick around for another year. I might even try and get back into this, I just need to be more disciplined with time by making sure there is space in there somewhere to write, because it’s good for the soul.

I hope you are all well, and I hope to see you soon :)

Saying a proper goodbye

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I feel like every time I log on here and start to write these days, it is always about coronavirus, but really, what else is there to talk about. I mean life carries on as normal, but at the end of the day things are not really normal for any of us at the minute.

So what prompted this post you ask yourself, well, it was actually my reading of a story on the news, a sad story about a couple who had passed away from Coronavirus, within 12 hours of each other. I can only imagine the loss and grief their family must be experiencing. They like so many others will find themselves in the situation of not being able to celebrate the life of their loved ones as they normally would, in the company of their family and friends.

I suppose the line that resonated with me the most however was the fact they were not going to be able to hold a wake and hear all the stories that others had to share about the couples life.

wake is a social gathering associated with death, usually held before a funeral. Traditionally, a wake takes place in the house of the deceased

Here in Northern Ireland, wakes are a thing, I can remember a few times the Fathership coming home a little worse for wear as we would call it, in other words drunk, after having raised perhaps one too many glasses out of respect for the dearly departed.

When my Mum passed away, our house became an open one to accept the many people who cared enough to come and pay their respects. We were given, love, kindness and food in abundance.

In the four years prior to my Mum’s passing and as the dementia got worse, while she was still my Mum, she was not the same person through no fault of her own. When living with and dealing with that situation every day, it was hard to remember the person she was before, because like with the coronavirus, we had to adjust to a new normal.

This is where the wake and the stories that were told became so important, because through listening to others and their memories of what she was like, it helped to erase some of the bad memories of the preceding years and replace them with good ones, reminding me of the person she was before.

There was laughter and there were tears, but it was a nice in between before the end of a long road. So I am sorry for this family and that due to this situation that we find ourselves in they will not be able to experience this small sense of comfort like we could.

We’re in the second wave that they kept warning us about and its seems scarier in some ways than the first. I know that face masks and socially distancing are an issue for some and there are very many theories circulating about the legitimacy of it all, but for me it’s simple, people are dying, so we can’t do nothing.

I hate wearing a mask, but I think of all the people in the emergency services who have to wear one every day, who despite being as worried as we probably are, turn up for work every day to care for the sick. To keep us safe and to stop us dying. So my wearing a mask is a small matter compared to that.

I think about my family, my friends, especially those who have lost loved ones during this time and my work colleagues and that’s also reason enough.

And I think about this family and their loss too, and the fact that they cannot share stories and memories with the ones they love.

That should be a good enough reason for us all.