Tag Archives: anxiety

H is for healing

Much as I look forward to it, I’m always a bit bothered when school starts again. All those people moving on, experiencing new things, learning about life and themselves. This is my ninth September staying in bed- I was off work, still expecting go back in a week or two, when Girl2 started nursery school. We have all changed since then, but I’m still in my pyjamas.

With nobody in the house, I finally have the space to deal with the random bits of paper that have gathered up during the summer. I’ve discovered the things I forgot to do, or didn’t finish. I haven’t yet found anything I did brilliantly and forgot about. There are no pleasant surprises hidden in the paperwork.

Jake is lying in the sun, sleeping. He follows me about, finding a comfy spot close to hand. He has a lot of sleeping to catch up on, making the most of long days with nobody dancing around him, or posing him for ‘selfies’, or trying to get him to play. Peace for an old grumpy dog. But last night, he had me in tears on the street. Sobbing on Sunnyside Street. Another dog,  a short lead, a sniff, a wag and- in a heartbeat- each dog going for the other’s throat.

I was defeated. What sort of fool was I anyway, if I couldn’t even walk the dog without a crisis? Anxiety and doubt were overwhelming.

I’d spent the morning filling in an application for a training course- what a laugh. What made me think I could be a ‘leader’ or an ‘influencer’ when I could hardly leave the house? How could I persuade the GP to medicate me heavily when he knew I gave presentations to big wigs? I’d seen him there; he’s related to a big wig. I’d pretended well that day, but the truth will out. I was weeping in public because one grumpy dog met another, and it was all my fault. Everything was my fault.

I couldn’t go to bed and huff- Spurs Fan had to go to a meeting and somebody needed to be a grown up. It was time to hide in a book.

Dawnriser raved about H is for Hawk; I’d never heard of it, but read a few other reviews and bought it. I’d looked at it on the shelf and wondered what was wrong with my head. I know nothing about birds. I don’t even want to know anything about birds. Yes, I know something of grief, but we all do. I’d bought a hardback book about a blimmin’ bird and I was never ever going to read it.

But last night I needed to be distracted. I needed to be taken away from my own mind. That big bird book would do. This was its chance to captivate. If I were beaten, so be it. It was just that sort of day and I wasn’t going to feel any worse.

Five hours later I realised I’d need to sleep.

The book is sitting on the table in front of me now, calling to me, and I’m not opening it. I have things to do. I will do nothing else if I open the book.

I’m fascinated, involved, totally engrossed by the goshawk (never knew they existed) Mabel and her owner Helen, an academic and experienced falconer. Helen is struggling with death and grief; Mabel is a young bird, learning about living. “Her demeanour switches from everything scares me to I see it all; I own all this and more.” I went to bed after a key moment- “A baby hawk that’s just worked out who she is. What she’s for.”

I’m unlikely to experience a late blooming of interest in birds of prey, but my faith in the power of a well told story is reinforced. Today I feel like an addict, working out how long I hold off until I get back to it. How long will the mundane messages take? Maybe I could finish the book first? Or just read a chapter? (Not even fooling myself with that one.)

kafka, book, axe, sea

So, there it is. The solution to being left behind, shrouded in brain fog and too anxious to leave the house. The solution to my just about everything.

A good story, well told.

Read a book. Always. Read a book.

and off she goes

The garments are labelled. The tie is tied. The blazer feels itchy on her neck.

My little one is off to big school, with butterflies in her tummy and her shoulders tensed up to her ears.

Girl2, school uniform

Nobody else from her primary school is going to the same school, but that is not a concern. Thanks to dancing and sport and the miracles of social media (“I’ve got a new friend who’s going to my school tomorrow too”), she knows loads of people. By now she’ll be getting to know her new class, her form teacher and the ways of the new world. By home time she’ll be exhausted but buzzy. A restorative cookie is planned.

Girl1 is almost as excited. She has shared many words of wisdom (“Don’t bring your school bag into the dining room.”, “Do your homework the day you get it.” I’m still smiling at the latter…) but will probably not acknowledge her sister when through the school doors, or on the bus. She doesn’t start back until tomorrow, so made sure to lift Jake up to the window for waving this morning. A dog’s life, indeed.

And so the world moves on, full of fun and learning and friendship. We’d not want it any other way.

the little things

Yesterday was a dozy day. I tried getting up, but retired defeated, after eating. Eventually I showered, put on clean pyjamas and made it as far as the sofa, accessorized with hot water bottle and little old lady rug over my legs.

Today was to be better. I had plans. But time has this habit of vanishing. It’s lunchtime and the cupboards are not cleaned, the ironing isn’t done, tasks from 6 weeks ago sit on the table, shaming me. There are things to be doing, but I’m faffing on the internet. In my dressing gown. If the sun shines I notice the grubby windows. I brought a cake stand to a coffee morning on Saturday and it needed a good clean before we could put the buns on it. Luckily, I’m not proud- I wasn’t remotely bothered when I could have been mortified in front of the Irish dancing mummies. (I’d never cope if I was a competitive Dance Mom).

When I wasn’t doing any of the many things that I need to be doing, I read Emma’s post and recognised the feelings. You probably do too.

Then, on twitter, a moment of sanity. Words of wisdom from @SharonOwensAuth- housework all on one day, another day for writing, a day for other things, time to do nothing at all. Sometimes we just need somebody to point out the obvious. Little steps to make the chaos a wee bit more manageable.

from: http://thebookhabit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/monday-musing_12.html
from: http://thebookhabit.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/monday-musing_12.html

it’s not rocket science…

… but it’s complicated.

There’s no formula, just trial and error. Stopping and starting. Resting. Re-framing ‘doing nothing all day’ as ‘pacing’. Considering being able to get out of bed before lunchtime as an achievement. Being paralysed with anxiety, unreliable, weepy. Pains in random places. The room spinning even when I’m lying down. Never feeling good enough for the people in my life.

You would not believe the paperwork that goes with having a chronic condition and being unable to work, the justifying one has to do, as if one had chosen this lifestyle.

‘Can you …?’  ‘I plan to.’ That fudge of a yes is the most I can say; there’s always the caveat that I may not be fit for it.

I would love to know that doing X + Y = too much. Life would be so straightforward then. Nothing is that simple. There are too many variables, all of them unpredictable.

There are many, many things I want to be doing. I can only hope to do a small fraction of those. Often I feel frustrated because I can’t do all the volunteering. Today I’ve been pacing the house, wound up to the highest of doe because I can’t do everything for a girl that she wants me to. (I know that if I were well and in work I wouldn’t be able to do it either, but I wouldn’t have the crushing guilt and anxiety then.)

Pesky ME. It’s not me, it doesn’t define me, but it plays waay too big a part of my life.

from: http://www.nobleworkscards.com/4308-ephemera-inc-forgotten-birthday-birthday-greeting-card.html
from: http://www.nobleworkscards.com/4308-ephemera-inc-forgotten-birthday-birthday-greeting-card.html