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19:57 – Just, why?

17 Dec

** Trigger warning for talk of self harm **

Today has not been a good day at all. It started off with a battle with royal mail as I have paid to have my mail redirected for 3 months to give me enough time to work my way through all the companies I have dealings with to change my address with them. For some reason when you enter my old postcode into any address checking system on a computer it lists the flats as flat 1 to flat 12. But that isn’t how they are labeled on the doors of the flats, instead it runs like flat 0/1, 0/2, 1/1, 1/2 etc. So even after taking ID into the post office last week to prove my address does exist and asking them to enter the address manually I still got a letter from royal mail this morning with the wrong address details. Argh! So I phone them and they say they can’t override it on the system nor can the guy’s supervisor. Frustrating? Very!

So in the end I went into my local sorting office and explained it all to them and they think they have sorted it out now but can’t promise I won’t miss the odd bit of mail here and there. . . Most annoying when I’ve paid for it to be done!

That was the point where I should have known it was going to be a bad day. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before but a couple of months ago my parents agreed to take out a bank loan for me and bought me a new car. It’s not brand new or anything but I have to admit I do love it, even though it’s going to take me 3 years to pay off. I haven’t even driven it that much because I’m very aware these days of not getting behind the wheel if I know I’m not in a good frame of mind but it has helped a lot with getting to a couple of new places that the agoraphobia has previously prevented me to because I trust the car to keep me safe. So today around lunchtime I decided to head out early, I had an appointment with lovely support worker at 3 so I left around 2pm so that I could get her a xmas card and some bits from the shops. But then all of a sudden I seemed to go into this weird autopilot mode and found myself standing in a paint and decorating shop. My mouth was moving and sound was coming out, I heard myself asking for a pack of the strongest stanley knife blades they had. Then I went to the pharmacy and bought some bandages yet still really didn’t know why I was doing it.

I went back to the car park and sat thinking for a little while trying to make sense of my actions. The only conclusion that I could come to was that I needed them as a safety blanket, like even though I want this new house to have all these good memories in it and to be this blank canvas, now that all of the stress of having to hold it together over the past few weeks has gone I can finally let all my crazy mixed up emotions out. I sat and smoked a cigarette and tried to get my head together, felt calmer, drove along in the direction of my appointment then realised I’d forgotten to get something at the shops. I spotted a space and slowly reversed into it but there was a stupid metal bollard in my blind spot and I reversed right into it. Heard a bit of a thud and stopped immediately, got out the car and there was glass everywhere :( My whole back light unit where the brake light and reverse light and an indicator are were smashed to pieces and a deep scratch on the bumper. As everyone stood and stared at me I fought back the tears and drove to the garage, all the way believing that this was my punishment for buying the blades to self harm with.

At the garage I was told the damage was too bad for them to allow me to drive it and I had to leave it there. They are going to try and get it back to me by the end of the week. Now I don’t know whether to make an insurance claim and have my premiums go up or somehow find the money to pay it myself. For the parts and labour it’s going to be around £200 so I think I’m just going to pay it although it’s going to take a while to save that much up :( I could really have done without this especially so close to xmas even though I think it’s xmas I’m dreading so much.

The only good part of my day was seeing lovely support worker and getting a good long chat with her as I haven’t seen her in a while. I told her about buying the blades and said I knew I would act on the urges I just didn’t know when. She tried to talk to me about how bad I always feel in the aftermath of self harming but in the end just asked me to try and be careful when I do it. I don’t know when it will happen, maybe it’ll be tonight or maybe not til next week or even longer than that…

All I know is that the urges to do it and do it bad have been very strong over these past few weeks but I couldn’t let myself give in to them when I had so much else going on and now. . . well now it feels like all that has gone and I can finally give in to them. Part of me wants to go and run a hot bath and do it there, watch all of the water turn red before pulling the plug and seeing it all disappear. Part of me wants to leave them at the back of the drawer where I’ve hidden them and try to keep plodding on until things REALLY get too much. . . cos they will, I know that much. I sit here just now looking at the mess of my arms and legs from previous self harming, so many scars I can’t even count them. One part of my head says don’t add to the mess, the other part of my head tells me “do it and do it fucking bad like you deserve”.

So yeah. . .

Shit day? Yep.

Danger to myself? Possibly.

Will it go further than cutting? Who fucking knows. . .

16:47 – My Crazy Bipolar Life – 4 years on

15 Dec

On the 13th of December it was 4 years exactly since I wrote my very first blog post. To be honest I didn’t think it would last for four weeks let alone 4 years! I just sat and read my very first blog post and thought I’d make this one about some of the things that have changed since that first post.

In my first post I wrote about being in a very dark place and in the posts that followed it I was having a lot of suicidal thoughts and self harming regularly. In fact that continued for quite some time and then almost a year later I was detained under the mental health act for the first time. Shortly followed by a second time just two months later.

The only good thing from when I wrote that first blog post in December 2009 (through to mid 2011) was that I felt like I finally had a good support team around me. I worked closely with a social worker and to this day she remains the person who I consider to have helped me the most. However I no longer work with her and doubt I ever will again but despite that she still means a lot to me.

I also had a psychologist that I saw regularly but as I wrote recently I stopped seeing her due to her going on maternity leave and she is about to go on maternity leave again so she is also out of the picture now.

When I first started writing this blog I was seeing a very camp male GP who amused me but wasn’t great at dealing with mental health issues, but then a lovely female GP started soon after I started this blog and I still see her usually once a month to get my prescriptions now that I’m trusted with a full month of medication at a time instead of weekly ones like I used to get. Lovely GP has been and continues to be a good support person for me even if she can only give me 10 minutes at a time.

My psychiatrist I had for several years has since retired and I don’t get on so great with my current one. I didn’t get on particularly well with the last one either but I guess because I saw so much of him I kinda got used to his way of working. Maybe over time I’ll get used to this one as well.

Since I stopped working with the lovely social worker I’ve had three cpn’s. They have all been crap and I don’t feel as though I’ve achieved anything at all with their help. I currently see the cpn that was the 2nd one I saw as after the 3rd one left the 2nd one came back again. As you will know if you read regularly I avoid my appointments with her as much as possible as her way of working I just don’t find helpful at all.

So now I’ve talked about the ways in which my care team have changed over the last four years I guess I should mention how *I* have changed. There have been some positive changes. I am nearing the end of my 2nd year of my part time home based uni course although this really means I’m coming towards the end of 1st year as I do it part time. It’s been extremely difficult at times as my concentration levels have been very poor a lot of the time and I’ve had many moments where I’ve wanted to drop out but I’m glad I haven’t. I just need to get through 5 more months then I will have completed all six year one modules.

There are two other good things. One being that my travelling has gotten slightly better. I still deal with agoraphobia and crazy debilitating levels of anxiety but I have managed to add one new place to travel to over the last year and whilst I still can’t travel anywhere busy or go on a motorway or to a shopping centre for example, I am still pleased with myself for conquering one new place :)

The other good thing is that I haven’t been an inpatient in the psychiatric hospital since January 2012 so almost two years now. My frequency of self harming has also lessened however when I do mess up and do it I find now I can’t stop myself at a superficial level of damage and have to keep going until I’ve done the most damage possible. I have self harmed on and off since I was 13 years old and I’m now 32 so it’s been a very long time but it’s only really been over the past 4 years that it’s been so severe.

So yeah, a lot has changed since that first blog post and it’s been a long journey to get to where I am today. Between 2009 to 2013 I have been sectioned 3 times,  one 72 hour one and two 28 day ones. I’ve attempted to take my own life a number of times. I’ve self harmed to the point of needing numerous stitches a lot of times too. I continue to grieve for my little boy who was premature and stillborn in 2007 and have no idea if I’ll ever fully recover from that traumatic and hugely painful event. I have messed around with substances over the past few years and reached such a severe level of suicidal depression I even chose to try heroin to see if it would either kill me or numb me… I didn’t really care which but at least I dragged myself out of that very dark place and went to see lovely GP for help before it spiralled into an addiction or got out of control.

There have been a lot of dark places where I never thought I’d see the light again, another being when I was classed as being in psychosis when I was hearing voices and being controlled by them for which I went into the psych hospital a few more times but voluntarily so they didn’t need to detain/section me again.

And where am I now? In my new little house with all the opportunities for a fresh start and a blank canvas. I think I will be happy here in the long run but it’s still early days and not familiar enough to me yet to be completely free of anxiety and paranoia. But I hope that will change. I can recognise that I have made some achievements or positive changes in the last 4 years and people do comment on how much better I seem nowadays. But I’m not sure I fully believe that, it feels more like I’ve just got better at hiding it all from everyone as I do still have many a moment when I completely break down and feel as though I’m losing the plot. I do still self harm I just don’t talk about it so much unless I’ve ended up at A&E and post about my experience of how I was treated by the doc/nurses.

One other pretty traumatic thing I am trying to deal with is the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and the incident when I was spiked and assaulted with a drug called PCP in august 2012. Since that happened I’ve been working with a wonderful lady from the rape crisis charity and she has been an amazing support over the past year. I haven’t seen her or cpn#2 for a number of weeks now due to all the stress of moving house but I am glad I do have lovely support worker to help me make sense of things. As for cpn#2 I guess I’ll probably just continue as I am, missing a load of appointments then turn up for one here or there then skip a load again. I guess deep down I’m probably hoping she’ll say we don’t have a productive working relationship and pass me on to someone else.

Wow this was only supposed to be a short post but even though I’ve had to use my phone to type it all out I’ve rambled on for ages! My aims for the foreseeable future? Just to get through the xmas and new year period in one piece with no hospital admissions and no self harming and no crazy beliefs around the time of my little boys anniversary in February that I have to off myself to be with him again.

I’m far from being cured or able to function fully like other working members of society, my moods continue to go up and down and all over the place but there have been some small changes. And I guess that’s all any of us can do… take each day as baby steps to try and make really small changes whilst dealing with all our inner mental health battles and head crazies along the way.

It will be interesting to see where I’m at in another years time when my little blog turns five. Will I be the same? Will I be off benefits and working and living a more normal life? Will I be worse and back in hospital, hurting myself and believing all sorts of craziness? The answer is that nobody knows… I certainly don’t… All we can do is wait and see.

Thanks to all of you who have offered words of support, words of wisdom and just offered virtual hugs over the past 4 years… it has meant more to me than you’ll ever know… xxx

00.22 – Just checking in

12 Dec

This is my second night in my new house. Last night felt pretty strange and I did end up having a full blown panic attack at bedtime. Tonight as it gets closer to bedtime again I can feel the anxiety rising. I’ve taken my meds and some diazepam and thought I’d write a little update on here to try and distract myself a little bit while they kick in.

It’s been a crazy and very tiring couple of days what with throwing so much stuff out then three trips back and forth with the removal van on Monday night then went and stayed with my parents for the night as I had the carpet fitter coming early Tuesday morning so we just put all my furniture into the living room for the night on Monday. Of course nothing is going smoothly at the moment and when the carpet guy came on Tuesday morning it turned out that my nice carpet I’d only had for 11 months didn’t fit in my new bedroom :( I was so sure my bedroom in my flat was way bigger than my bedroom here so didn’t bother to measure it! So the carpet has been binned. I did get him to lay some wood effect vinyl in my kitchen though. So for now I’ll need to live with the laminate flooring that was already laid in here but it’s not in a veey great condition.

They still haven’t done anything about the dampness in the new house despite me first reporting it the day I signed the tenancy agreement which was the 25th of November I think. I’ve phoned numerous times over the past week or two to say the housing inspector put the job of replacing my missing roof tiles through as an emergency repair yet still no one has come grrr! What else was I going to moan about? Oh yeah… I couldn’t get my cooker into place because the cupboard to the side of it hasn’t been fitted correctly and slants at the bottom making the gap too small and I couldn’t fit my washing machine because there are no pipes to connect it to! They have arranged for a joiner to come out on Friday morning to adjust the cupboard so I can get my cooker in place although I’m contemplating just buying a new one from my catalogue that I can pay up weekly as my current one is a bit fucked. But as for the plumber to fit the pipes for washing machine or roofer to put tiles back on who knows when they will show up!

Anyways it’s taken me almost 45 mins just to type those few paragraphs as I’m using my phone (so apologies for any typos!) But I just wanted to check in and let you all know I’m here in my new house, I’m shattered from so much work that moving house involves, I’m still very anxious and feeling quite unsettled but I just have to hope that the more familiar this new environment becomes the less anxiety I’ll feel. Even the dogs seem a bit unsettled however they are loving having a garden to play in!

Ok I think I’ll sign off for now but I’ll update again soon when I’m a bit more chilled out xx

00:06 – It’s time to say goodbye

9 Dec

The time has almost come for me to say goodbye to this flat that I live in as tomorrow I move house. This will be my last sleep in here tonight although I don’t expect to get much as I feel a bit of a mess to be honest. Last night I had a bit of, no scratch that, I had a complete meltdown. I switched from anxious and panicking to hysterical and crying my eyes out, to feeling like I must cut myself to calm down, to taking a handful of Diazepam as the safer option to calm down, then back to being an anxious wreck again before finally just sitting on the floor rocking myself back and forth and silently letting tears roll down my cheeks.

So yeah… I sensed I was in a bad frame of mind and the thought of doing something really bad to myself just wouldn’t leave my head but at the same time I kept telling myself I could not be that selfish, I could not do something to myself when my parents are doing everything they possibly can to make this new house nice for me. I owe them so much and they do not need to see me having yet another breakdown because of the head crazies. So in the end I phoned the Samaritans and I spoke to a lovely gentle sounding lady for about an hour, I told her everything and I have to admit it helped just to get everything out and have a complete stranger just sit and listen and let me talk until I felt calmer again.

Unfortunately I didn’t sleep too good last night though and tonight I feel quite sad at the thought of saying goodbye to this flat and find myself being constantly flooded with memories as so many things have happened in here.

It was in this flat that I found out I was pregnant.

It was in this flat that my ex-fiancé proposed to me.

It was in this flat that I set up the beautiful swinging crib for my little boy.

It was this flat I returned to with empty arms after losing my little boy.

It was in this flat that my ex-fiancé admitted he’d been having an affair.

It was in this flat that I took serious overdoses.

It was in this flat that I have self harmed so many times.

It was in this flat that I got sectioned for the first time.

It was in this flat I slept on my sofa for a year because of my paranoia.

It was in this flat that I ….

…. I could go on and on but I’m sure you get the idea.

There are a lot of memories associated with this place, a few are good but the vast majority are bad if I’m truly honest with myself. Still, for some reason there is an anxious part of me which is scared to leave it tomorrow. Maybe because this is all I have known for the past 7 and a half years and despite all the shit that has happened in it, somewhere deep down I have had to make myself believe that this is my home as that’s the only way I’ve managed to keep on living here. I pretty much spent the whole of 2012 sleeping on my sofa and only going into the bedroom to get clothes out the drawers. For almost a year my bed lay with a dust-sheet covering it and piles of boxes on top of it.

But around this time last year my parents had enough of me living like that and came and redecorated it all for me to make the bedroom look a bit different and to an extent that worked. I started sleeping in my bed again and have pretty much continued to do so for all of 2013. Some nights though I lie in my bed and my head starts going crazy with these flashbacks of all sorts of memories, I see people, objects, all sorts of things flashing in front of my eyes and need to run back through to the sofa to hide away from them.

Whilst I’ve been packing I have thrown out about 80% of my personal possessions. Any item which I can tie to a particular memory or person has gone in the bin, apart from items associated with my little angel or that my parents or good people in my life have got for me. I want this new house to be a completely fresh start with no memories in it, a blank canvas to create new and hopefully happier memories in. I want to leave as much of my emotional baggage behind here and move on to pastures new but today I have been quite upset and anxious about all of this moving stuff. There are some memories I’m not sure if I’m ready to leave behind… I don’t know if this will make sense but because this move has all come out of the blue so quickly it’s like there are some memories that I haven’t thought about for ages that have come flooding back and whether I feel ready to or not I have to say goodbye to them. I have to go with what lovely support worker said to me which was that any memory that is important will stay with me no matter where I live or where I am. And I guess that’s true and I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

I still have so much to do tomorrow, I am only really half packed as I’ve spent the past few days throwing out as much stuff as possible, but due to everyone being at work and stuff we aren’t getting the van until 6pm so that gives me all of tomorrow morning and afternoon to finish packing up. Then my parents, my brother and my best friend’s boyfriend are all coming round to help move all of my heavy stuff like the cooker, washing machine, fridge, sofa, bed, bedroom furniture, living room furniture, etc. I’ve got to stay at my parents house tomorrow night as the carpet fitter can’t come until Tuesday morning so all of my stuff will have to be put into the living room in the new house then once the bedroom carpet has been laid I can spend Tuesday unpacking and sleep in the new house from Tuesday night onwards. I have now also managed to get all of my mail redirected and have also arranged to have a new phone line fitted in the new house but unfortunately the first available appointment for a BT phone engineer isn’t until the 27th of December which means that I need to go for more than two weeks without being able to use my laptop. Thankfully I can still use the internet on my phone so I will still be able to write my rambles here although they will probably be considerably shorter in length! (Maybe not a bad thing!)

So the next time I update it will be from my new house. This feels like such a massive change for me and I can only hope that once I am unpacked and settled in that I will be able to post here saying that it was definitely the right move for me to make. I hope it won’t be long until I can call it my home rather than my house. I hope the housing association will fix my broken roof tiles so they don’t leave me to stress out about the dampness situation. I just want to be able to sit back in my new place in say a week’s time and smile. Smile because I feel genuinely calm, happy and at peace with the decision I have made.

Well… it’s time to do more packing then walk the dogs and get myself to bed. Tomorrow is a big day and will no doubt be an extremely stressful day as well. I have already put some Diazepam into my pocket for tomorrow as I’ve got a feeling I may be popping them like smarties. But all I need to do is get through it. That makes it sound so easy. I don’t know why this is such a massive deal for me but it is.

I guess it’s because I know I’m closing the book on one chapter of my life… but I must look at the positive side which is that I’m opening that book to a new chapter that is yet to be written.

*deep breaths*

“You can do this” … say and repeat… say and repeat… make this my mantra… and take more deep breaths…

I *can* do this… right? :/

02:06 – Stress, anxiety, stress, anxiety, stress!

6 Dec

If I thought I was stressed out when I last posted I’m even more so now. I’ve managed to get my two uni essays finished and submitted in time so I’m glad they are over with even though they are both really crap but so long as they scrape a pass that’s all I’m really caring about to be honest. I now have an official moving date which is Monday. The parents have got a van sorted, I have got my brother and my best friend’s boyfriend to help with the heavy stuff and I’ve got a carpet fitter sorted. But I still have soooo much to do. I haven’t even started packing things into boxes yet but now that the essays are out of the way I can spend Fri, Sat and Sun getting my whole life packed into boxes and bagging up all the rubbish that’s to go to the skip.

There are a lot of problems with the new house, a lot more than what I first thought. At first I thought it was mainly cosmetic stuff that needed doing and once it was completely redecorated it would all be OK. But as it turns out there is a lot of damp as there are broken and missing tiles on the roof. We had such strong winds last night another two were off and lying in the garden today. There is a big crack on the outside of one of the walls that has come through into the bedroom and that wall which my Dad has now painted twice is not drying out properly at all because of it. The living room wall has a big damp patch as well. The property inspector finally came out today almost two weeks after I reported there being dampness in the house and thankfully he is putting the job through as an emergency which means that they will hopefully get the roof tiles fixed tomorrow so the dampness doesn’t get any worse.

I got a letter from the council telling me that they have suspended my housing benefit until I give them an official moving in date which is adding to the stress as I now have my current housing association on my case about rent arrears. I’m also trying to sort out having my mail redirected but my postcode won’t bring up the correct address on their system so I have to complete a form in a post office branch which was fine but they are asking for two forms of address ID which have to be within the last 3 months and I have changed to paperless billing for everything so that is stressing me out as well trying to get a couple of companies to quickly send me stuff out as it takes five days to set up which means I need to hang onto the keys for here for extra days so I can still get my mail. I also need to arrange for someone to come out from my current housing association to do an inspection so they can see I’ve not wrecked the place! And I still need to contact BT to have my phone line and internet moved as well. So yeah… lots to do and it’s all sending my anxiety levels through the roof. The next few days are going to be crazy busy and I’m just crossing my fingers now and hoping that this dampness situation can be resolved as I don’t want to be living in a damp house!

For some reason I’ve been getting a lot of urges to self harm again. There is no obvious reason for this, I think it’s because I am that stressed that I need something to ground me because my head keeps overthinking about all the what if’s and all the things I need to do then it speeds up too fast then it slows down too slow and I just feel as though I can’t think straight at all. One minute I feel OK the next I’m having a full on panic attack then my thoughts are racing and no matter how many times I try and have words with myself that moving house is a big stressful event and it’s ‘normal’ to feel really anxious it just doesn’t seem to sink in and I just feel like I’m getting closer and closer to losing the plot.

*deep breaths*

OK, I guess as it’s almost 2am I better think about trying to get some sleep. I’m tired yet wide awake. My head has been hurting all day but I think that’s because I forgot to take my morning meds and probably the stress mixed in with it too. So a good night’s sleep would be most welcome but it seems when I go to bed at the moment my heart likes to start playing funny buggers with me and doing that horrible palpitating thing then beating super fast for no apparent reason. Anxiety everywhere and all of the time! I just can’t escape it… argh! I’ve had a good dose of Diazepam about half an hour ago so hopefully that will do the trick to let me get some proper sleep tonight but so far I don’t feel much effect from them, think I may need to take a little extra one or two.

Goodnight folks x

 

 

17:35 – Slipping, sliding, swinging moods

1 Dec

I am stressed. Extremely stressed. And my anxiety is sky high. I am taking more Diazepam each day than the amount I am prescribed meaning that I would have run out about a week early if I didn’t have my secret mental meds stash, which I’m guessing, most of us have.

I have been finding it extremely difficult to concentrate as my brain seems to jump from feeling so foggy I just can’t think… at all… about anything other than how fucking anxious I feel… to thinking about too many things in a fast and mixed up order… unable to concentrate on the task in hand… jumping from one internet page to the next… still getting absolutely nothing done.

And I feel so awful because my parents are spending their weekend off work up at my new house redecorating it for me and telling me just to stay here in my flat and get my two uni essays written as they are both due by this coming Friday. I’ve managed to get a half hearted first draft written for one of the essays but it is an absolute pile of bollocks, in fact I don’t even think it’s answering the question that is the essay title. It’s just a big long ramble that doesn’t flow properly, doesn’t really go anywhere, just rambles on about nothing. I think half the problem is that I don’t know how to answer the essay question… I don’t know what we are supposed to include… but I do know that the shit I’ve written so far doesn’t really include any of the stuff that we have covered in the module. So yeah… I think I’m way off track with it… it reads pretty much how my mood feels… no logical order… no nice flow from one point to the next… no explanation… just chopping and changing from one thing to the next.

My mood feels as though it is slipping and sliding all over the place but then it always does at this time of year. As soon as we hit November I seem to start struggling a lot. Once we hit December I just want to curl up in a ball and hibernate until it’s the Summer time again. I know people reading this will think I have that Seasonal Affective Disorder but I don’t… it’s because I now start seeing Christmas trees popping up everywhere, every shop window full of gift ideas, having to buy presents for friends kids and it’s like with every gift I see this big invisible boulder comes out of nowhere and knocks me to my feet… and as I try and climb back to an upright position it tries to knock me down again and again with the constant voice I hear reminding me that this is yet another Christmas to face without my little boy being here. It is immensely difficult to put on a smiling happy face for my friends kids as their little faces light up when they open all their presents and all I can think is why? Why did my little one not get the chance to experience Christmas? Why do I decorate a cold marble head stone in the cemetery instead of having my little one here helping me decorate a Christmas tree and seeing his little face light up on Christmas morning? It doesn’t get any easier even though it will be seven years in February since I lost him. Every year I go through these same emotions and they hurt so bad. It still makes no sense why he isn’t here with me. I don’t even have a Christmas tree to decorate because there is absolutely no Christmas spirit in me at all.

Then once we finally get Christmas over with for another year and enter the new year I have a six week countdown until it’s his 7th anniversary. So yeah… from now through to mid February is a very difficult time of year for me and I’m used to it pulling my mood down to super low levels. I’m used to feeling really depressed at this time of year. The majority of my hospitalisations have been this time of year. I don’t know how I avoided a hospital admission last year… perhaps it was using my uni work as a distraction or maybe I was feeling a bit stronger… I’m not sure. But right now with the stress of knowing that somehow or another I need to get these two essays written and submitted in less than a week and at the same time start getting all my possessions packed into boxes to move on Monday the 9th, I’m starting to feel like I’m not really coping very well at all. I should feel some degree of excitement about moving to the new house but I just don’t. I just don’t feel anything about anything really. Other than moving between depressed to stressed to anxious to foggy headed and then my moments of having about 100 ideas in the space of five minutes where everything suddenly speeds up inside my head… goes too fast… then like a lightbulb blowing it all goes dark again.

I better go for now, my Mum is coming to pick me up in half an hour to have a Sunday roast dinner at the parents house and I still need to have a quick shower. I might post back later as I feel like I’ve got more to say but it’s all a bit muddled up in my head right now. Maybe it will all make more sense later on…

00:01 – Hoping and praying I’m doing the right thing

25 Nov

So… since I last posted I have made the rather huge decision to accept the offer of the housing transfer. I went with my Mum to view it for a second time on Friday afternoon and then had an hour to give them a final decision as they are closed over the weekend and if I didn’t want to take it then it would be offered to someone else on Monday. I felt massively under pressure and I still don’t know if I am doing the right thing but after an appointment with CPN#2 on Friday morning and talking things through with her I decided I do need to get out of this flat I’m in. There are memories everywhere I look and a huge amount of them are bad ones. But, as lovely support worker said to me on Thursday “the memories that you need to keep you will keep in your heart and no matter where you are living they will always stay with you” and I hope so much she is right.

The appointment with CPN#2 on Friday was one I’d actually go so far as to say it was ‘semi’ productive. Yes she asked what items I wanted to put on “the agenda” for the session which as you all know drives me mad… but for once I actually had things I wanted to talk about. I knew I’d have lots to say about the housing transfer so decided to make it our second thing on the agenda and first of all discuss the recent letter from the psychologist. I told CPN#2 that I’d felt a mix of emotions when I received the letter, initially I felt hopeful as I read the words that I was now at the top of the waiting list and the psychologist was now in a position to offer me an appointment… but then as I carried on reading and saw she was only able to offer me 4 sessions due to going on maternity leave in March I felt pretty gutted. I chose my words carefully and said to CPN#2 “I’m assuming you only recently found out yourself that the psychologist is pregnant again as I’m sure you wouldn’t have left me hanging on waiting for my sessions to resume with her knowing she was pregnant and knowing that’s why I had to stop working with her last time”… I looked out the window as I said it and CPN#2 didn’t say yes or no… she just left me to carry on talking.

I’m now quite sure CPN#2 probably has known for at least a month if not a couple of months and that was possibly my way of making a little dig at her to let her know that I knew she knew. But I kept myself composed and said that whilst I wished the psychologist all the best with her pregnancy, I really felt like I would find it extremely difficult to spend January and February watching her huge bump whilst also spending January and the start of February trying to keep myself mentally strong enough to get through my little one’s 7th anniversary. CPN#2 said that she understood and was sure the psychologist would understand as well. I told her I felt a little bit deflated after being on the waiting list since May and to finally be offered an appointment then not be able to take it. Again, I’m not really sure if we would have achieved much in four sessions anyway, but now it looks like I’m going to be waiting considerably longer. CPN#2 told me that they had been advertising the post for a replacement psychologist for a while (this is why I’m sure she clearly has known for a while that the psychologist was pregnant again yet kept telling me just to hang on as I was getting closer to the top of the list) but unfortunately they’ve had very little interest in the post so far. She went on to say that it was not looking very likely that they will have a new psychologist in post by March and I’d most likely be in for a long wait. So just as I felt like she couldn’t make me feel much more deflated she actually surprised me and said that she thought I really did need psychological input and was going to ask the psychologist if it would be possible for me to be referred to a different psychology team. Basically it is the team located at the psych hospital about 90 minutes from where I live and they offer an outpatient service so CPN#2 is going to speak with the psychologist and see if they could refer me there instead. I don’t know that I’d be overly keen in being back in the grounds of the psych hospital or having to travel 90 mins there and back each week/fortnight but I guess if they could start seeing me in the next couple of months it would be better than waiting for God only knows how long to see a psychologist here. So that was the end of that conversation and I guess I can only hope for good news the next time I see CPN#2 that they are going to make the referral.

After that conversation was over with we started talking about all of the pros and cons of moving house. I talked about everything that scares me about leaving my flat behind and moving onto somewhere new but CPN#2 kept pulling me back to the positives of it all. She sat for about ten minutes painting this lovely scene of me waking up on Christmas morning with my little doggies bouncing around on my bed playing with their new toys… me getting out of my bed and being able to open my back door whilst still in my pyjamas and let them out to the garden… relaxing in a nice hot bath and getting ready to see all my family… peace and quiet around me, no noisy neighbours… getting the doggies and my presents and just having a five minute walk round to my parents house… talking almost like the way they do on hypnotherapy cd’s and I wanted so so much to feel this happy relaxing scene she was painting but in my head all I could see was me being in my flat. She then started to talk about how I needed to try and separate my anxiety associated with my “illness” and normal anxiety. That moving house was stressful for everyone who does it and it was normal for me to be having all these doubts but that she really thinks I need to leave this flat now and start afresh.

So I left the appointment with CPN#2 and came home and got the dogs and went for a long walk with them for an hour and tried to get my head straight. Then Mum came and picked me up and we went for the second viewing of the house. There is a lot of work that needs doing in it. The whole place needs completely repainted, the walls are going to need sanding down as someone has obviously put some plaster on to cover up little cracks but not bothered to smooth it out so there are big bumpy bits all over the walls. The ceilings and skirting boards need painting too. The flooring isn’t in a very good condition but I think I’m going to take my flooring from this flat and have it re-laid in the house as the rooms are slightly smaller than in here so it should fit. So after twenty minutes or so of viewing it I said yes I would accept it and we then went to the housing office for me to sign the acceptance forms. I have an appointment at 3pm tomorrow to collect the keys and sign the tenancy agreement. Then we had to go to the housing association from whom I currently rent my flat and was told I have to give them a 28 day notice period that I am ending my tenancy here which is a pain as we then had to go to the housing benefit office who have said that they will only pay the rent on one property at a time so I’m going to have to try and move as quickly as possible… ideally within a week as I will have to pay the rent on the new property out of my own pocket until I hand the keys back for this flat. But Mum said not to worry about that and that she and my Dad would pay a week or two’s rent for me.

So tomorrow it’s all going to start feeling real. Once I have the keys Mum and I are going to spend a few hours in the new house cleaning it all. I also need to phone a couple of removal companies tomorrow and get quotes from them to see how much it is going to cost to move all my heavy stuff like furniture and electrical appliances. Then on Tuesday I will need to contact my gas and electricity companies and arrange to have pre-payment meters installed in the new house. I also need to go to the post office and get a form to arrange to have all my mail redirected for a month or two to give me the chance to contact everyone to notify them of my change of address. I also need to phone and arrange to have my phone line and broadband moved. Then I need to start packing all the things that can go into boxes that I can move with the help of the parents. I feel like I have sooo much to do and to be honest I’m finding it all quite overwhelming and scary… I’m so thankful I do have my parents to help me with all of this because I think I would have fallen to pieces by now if I had to try and do it all by myself.

Plus I have less than two weeks to write and submit my two final essays for this term which I had intended to try and make a start on this weekend but I went to an engagement party last night and had a little bit too much to drink and have been suffering for it all day today. My own fault but never mind… I’m sure I’ll get them done. Sometimes I feel like I work better when I’m under pressure with a deadline fast approaching as I have no choice but to just study and write and study and write until it’s done. Maybe not my best work but so long as I scrape a pass that is all I really care about. I may just get my phone line moved and study from my parents house whilst they’re at work using their internet… at least I don’t have any distractions there and should be able to get my head down and get some work done.

So the next couple of weeks are going to be crazy, hectic and super busy but hopefully in a fortnight’s time I will be fully moved, essays done and on my Christmas break from the uni course and able to relax and get the rest of my Christmas shopping done. I’m hoping and praying that I am doing the right thing and won’t regret leaving this flat as once I leave I can never get it back… that’s it gone for good to become someone else’s home. And that really does throw up a whole mix of emotions for me. Whilst I need that fresh start I will also be very sad and probably quite emotional when the day comes that I’m sleeping here for the very last night. I have a feeling I am going to just sit here completely consumed with so many memories of the past 7 and a half years jumping into my head. But I am trying to trust my instincts and the words of advice other people are giving me and I do need a blank canvas to start creating new memories in… a new place to build into my home… right now it might just be ‘a house’ but I can make it ‘a home’ eventually I’m sure.

Big, scary adult decisions… argh!

Well I think 2000 words of rambling is quiet enough! I can’t quite believe that this time tomorrow I will be sitting here with the keys to my new house. It’s all happened so fast I just hope I can keep up and it doesn’t start going too fast that I get myself all into a big mess.

Deep breaths… keep calm… think of the positives… and when it all starts feeling overwhelming take a couple of Diazepam, try to be mindful and try to calm down… I guess that’s all I can do :/

Scared just doesn’t cut it. But I keep telling myself I’m only getting the keys tomorrow, I’m not moving tomorrow, I won’t be moving for at least a week yet, the more time I spend round at the new house getting it looking nicer the more familiar it will become and the more comfortable I will be when the official moving day comes around. I bet this last week of living here is going to fly by.

Another chapter of my life closing and another empty one just beginning…

14:03 – New beginnings?

21 Nov

Approximately 18 months ago I applied for a housing transfer through my local council. I had become absolutely miserable in this flat and when my agoraphobia is really bad I get so anxious I find it incredibly difficult to leave to walk down the communal stairs past my neighbours doors to get outside. This means that I sometimes have to rely on my parents or friends to come and walk the dogs for me or live on takeaway food delivered to me. I also get super paranoid because I have neighbours through each wall to either side of me as well as someone below me and someone above me so I feel like I’m boxed right in the middle. The professionals I was working with at the time supported my application as did my parents who all believed that if I just had my own front door it would help a great deal with me being able to leave the house easier. There are some other factors as well but if I go into them all this will turn into a super long ramble and I have to be at my appointment with lovely support worker in 45 minutes.

On Monday I received a letter from the council telling me they had a property that was vacant that they believed would be suitable for me and were giving me an official offer. It came completely out of the blue and I read the letter with a mix of excitement and then huge panic. The letter asked for me to phone them to arrange a viewing and see whether or not I wanted to accept the transfer. So on Tuesday my Mum came and picked me up and we met the housing officer at the little house. It’s about 2 miles away from where I live just now and is just a little one bedroom bungalow with a little garden and is literally 5 minutes walk to my parents house and 5 minutes walk to the hospital where the mental health team are. It’s on a quiet street which has houses with families on the one side and a row of little one bedroom bungalows on the other side which I think mainly house elderly people. This is ideal for me as my flat is right in the town area of where I live which means it’s always noisy with traffic, people in the communal stairwell coming and going, drunk people passing by after the pubs on the weekends, etc etc.

So we viewed the little house and it’s pretty dated and old fashioned looking on the inside, it badly needs redecorating but has a front door and back door with a small garden that my little dogs would love playing in. The garden is all enclosed with a fence so they would be safe. I tried to look past the dated decor and imagine how I could make it look to make it homely. But after only ten minutes the housing officer said she had to get to another appointment and that we’d need to leave so I don’t feel like I got to see the place properly and I can’t make a decision of permanently living there on ten minutes of viewing. The council then said I had to give a decision within 48 hours maximum (the form actually says 24 hours). So now I find myself in a bit of a situation. I don’t think I could be offered anything better as a transfer, the location is ideal like I say it’s really close to my parents, I don’t really have any neighbours super close to worry about, it’s quiet and peaceful, the dogs would have a garden to play in and I guess it’s a clean slate, a place to start afresh from.

But I have been in this flat for seven and a half years. It has a huge amount of memories associated with it, some good but some very very bad. Sometimes I get these little flashes in front of my eyes where I just look at a particular part of a room and all these memories flood through my head and can leave me feeling quite fucked up. I have, on a couple of occasions, self harmed just from memories around me and making me feel so trapped in here like I can never escape from them. And this new little house would be somewhere with no bad memories, no feeling trapped, somewhere to start creating memories in. My parents really want me to take it because they would feel so much better knowing I was just a few minutes walk from them and most of me wants to accept it as well. But as soon as I go to sign the acceptance form I get a massive release of anxiety completely overwhelming me. Mum says it’s just because it’s a big change and a new place that’s unfamiliar to me but that if I just go for it and get it looking homely that I will settle into it in no time. And I think she is probably right but I can’t stop thinking of all the ‘what ifs’ and the thought of having to pack all my possessions up and let removal guys into my flat and having to contact tonnes of companies and services to notify them of change of address, getting phone line and internet moved, gas and electric moved, just loads of shit like that makes me panic about it all. Like seriously bad waves of anxiety, strong enough to make me think I just can’t do this and I should just stay here no matter how much I hate it.

So the council have agreed to let me have a second viewing which is tomorrow at 2pm. I have to give them a definite decision by 4pm tomorrow. The property is currently lying empty so I assume it would be fairly quick to get the keys. I also have my two final essays for these modules I’m doing on my home based uni course due in the next two weeks so how I am supposed to study for them and write 2 x 2000 word essays as well as packing all my stuff up and moving to the new place, get it redecorated and everything all at once I just don’t know. They say one of the most stressful things is moving house and they aren’t wrong. When I moved in here I hardly had anything, just the very basics and it took a while to add in my appliances and furniture and stuff. I lived for the first couple of years with loads of second hand stuff but now over the last five years have replaced everything to new stuff. And I have a lot of stuff to move, in fact I think I have more stuff than the little bungalow can take as it didn’t seem to have much storage and the rooms are quite small. Maybe I’ll just have to throw a lot of stuff out that I don’t use/need any longer.

So yeah, tomorrow I have to make my definite decision and I am absolutely terrified. I keep having panic attacks and barely slept last night because I felt so anxious it was keeping me awake. I don’t know whether to accept it and take the chance that new beginnings would be a good idea and trust what my parents are saying that I will settle in and it will feel like home once I’ve got it looking how I want it to… or whether to listen to the anxiety and just stay here and not have to face any changes. I have written a list of pros and cons for moving and the pros far outweigh the cons but I am just so fucking scared of change/being somewhere unfamiliar and not knowing how I will adjust to it.

I’d better go as my appointment is in 20 minutes but I will post back tomorrow once I’ve had my second viewing by which time the decision will be made. Am I really ready to say goodbye to all those memories and move on to somewhere new? I don’t know if I have the strength. I’m scared, terrified in fact, but something at the back of my head is saying to me that this could be the best decision I ever make to get away from here and start again. What to do? I just don’t know…

19:34 – Here comes a RANT

16 Nov

As the title says – here comes a rant…

So as most of you already know I don’t get on very well with CPN#2 but I have tried to attend some of my appointments with her mainly because I thought if I completely disengaged then I might end up being discharged from the community mental health team (CMHT). I have also tried to go to some of them so that it would bridge the gap whilst waiting to start seeing the psychologist again. I haven’t seen her since February 2012 when she went off on maternity leave. I did try to work with her at various points throughout 2010 but by the end of the year had become so unstable I was sectioned under the mental health act. When we got about half way through 2011 I tried to work with her again but was still in and out of the psych hospital so we never really got to do more than a few sessions here and there before I’d end up back in hospital again.

Towards the end of 2011 the psychologist came to see me during one of my many hospital admissions and told me that she was five months pregnant. The reason why I was ending up in hospital so much was because I was constantly making attempts at ending my life because all I wanted was to be in Heaven with my baby boy. So I sat that day and listened to her and then told her that I thought I would find it too hard to work with her whilst watching her bump grow bigger especially as she was due around the same time as my little boy’s anniversary. She completely understood and other than at one CPA meeting in February 2012 I had no more sessions with her.

So, the psychologist was due to return to work in February/March time of this year. In May I got a letter from her saying that I was on her waiting list and she would write to me again when she was able to restart psychology sessions with me. CPN#2 told me a month or so ago that I was very near the top of the list at last and should get an appointment to start seeing the psychologist again very soon. In a way a lot of things have been resting on these sessions starting back – new psychiatrist has run out of medications to try with me and wants me to consider ECT – but first he wants psychological input and to see if working on the Compassion Focused Therapy (Compassionate Mind and Mindfulness) would help to improve my mood and anxiety levels. Lovely GP is hanging on to see if psychology will help me. Lovely support worker has also done her best to keep me going and reminding me it won’t be long ’til I can do some proper psychological therapy again. And CPN#2 told me only a matter of weeks ago that she really thinks I’m in a better frame of mind now to do therapy.

(Note: CPN#2 also recently informed me that she thinks my persistently low moods were due to several factors but the one worth mentioning is that she deliberately said that she thought my infertility issues and so many people around me being pregnant/having babies was definitely worsening my mood)

So this morning I get up to discover a letter in the post from Clinical Psychology. It starts off to say “you are now at the top of the waiting list and I will be able to offer you sessions starting in January”… OK so a little longer than I’d expected but at last I had a start date! Then I carry on reading the letter… “I will only be able to offer you four sessions, two in January and two in February as I go on maternity leave in March 2014“.

Now here comes rant number 1.

Why… why the hell did CPN#2 not think to mention this to me whilst trying to keep me focused on staying stable “so I can work with the psychologist again”?? Why, when she herself sat and told me that she thinks having various people around me just now who are either pregnant or have small babies is having a negative impact on my mood because it keeps me thinking about my little boy all the time and about the fact that I have a variety of fertility issues of my own did she not tell me that the psychologist was pregnant again? Why let me find out on a fucking letter rather than just telling me? CPN#2 knows all to well that the reason I stopped seeing the psychologist was because in her last few months of pregnancy and with a big fucking bump it messed with my head too much and that’s why I stopped seeing her! So if psychologist is due in March then she is around a similar point in her pregnancy as my cousin who is also due in March and my cousin has just recently had her 20 week scan and has an obvious bump now. So it’s not like CPN#2 wouldn’t have known, I’m quite sure she has known for a couple of months yet has carried on telling me how important it is for me to stay stable so I can resume these psychology sessions. And also she knows fine well that my little one’s anniversary is in February so at this time of year as we go through the Winter months my head is always more messed up than usual. So she wants me to attend psychology for a whole four sessions with a huge pregnant bump staring back at me? Seriously… wtf!

The next part of the letter goes on to say: “I understand that working with me towards the end of my pregnancy may be difficult for you so if you would prefer not to have the four sessions I can offer you then you can wait until a new psychologist is appointed once I begin my maternity leave in March 2014″. Well at least she was decent enough to acknowledge and remember how hard it was for me to see her the last time she was pregnant but I have been waiting and to a certain degree hanging on for these psychology sessions since May so if I say to her that yes, I think I will find it too hard to work with her and want to wait and work with whatever new psychologist they appoint that means I’m going to have to wait until March. Maybe April by the time the new one gets his/her caseload sorted out. So that’s another four or five months to carry on waiting when I’ve already been waiting for a very long six months. Plus it means working with someone new and let’s face it I’m not particularly good at that. I’m just so frustrated that all I’ve heard for the past few months from CPN#2, from new psychiatrist, from lovely GP and lovely support worker is to “hang in there, the psychology might help, you’re nearly at the top of the list” and for what? I reach the top and am offered four sessions… even if she wasn’t pregnant what the hell do they think I’ll achieve in four sessions?!

Don’t get me wrong, I know I have no say over when anyone chooses to have a child and as well as being a psychologist she is just a normal woman living her life and creating her family. I have no issues with that. I am just so so pissed off that people clearly knew but didn’t tell me. I’m so pissed off that after all this waiting I finally get that letter to say I’m at the top of the list and then have to sit and battle with myself over what I should do now. Should I say yes and take the four sessions then move over to whoever takes over her post whilst she’s on maternity leave or should I wait a few months longer and spare myself the heartache of sitting watching this bump growing whilst at the very same time trying to deal with another painful anniversary? If I do go to see her will it mess with my head again? Will I start getting crazy thoughts like I did the last time? Would I be able to cope with it better now?

Rant number two…. I shouldn’t have to be asking myself all of these questions! Someone should have been decent enough to have said to me a month or two months ago – “you are getting close to the top of the list but the psychologist is actually pregnant again and will be going on maternity leave in March, would you prefer to stay on her list and have a few short sessions or wait until a new psychologist fills her post?” Why the fuck was it too hard for someone to just say that? Argh!

And sorry, but a bit more ranting… I had sort of decided that as CPN#2 is so fucking useless and close to impossible to work with, that when I did start seeing the psychologist again I would stop seeing CPN#2. I am getting nowhere with the woman and every session is structured in her way or no way. So now if I have to wait til March/April time to see whoever the new psychologist will be that means months and months of having to carry on seeing CPN#2 until then. And I can see where that will head. I will either make up excuses as to why I can’t attend appointments or just completely disengage with her. And all of this at the hardest time of year for me when I need support more than any other time of the year. I’m frustrated and angry that she got my hopes up that it was close to my psychology sessions resuming, that she sat and spoke to me about how it “might be best for me to just try and stay away from people who are pregnant or who have babies over these difficult months” and the whole time the fucking psychologist is pregnant!

I could go on and on. Maybe you will read this and think I need to “get over it” or maybe you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Maybe nobody really understands how hard it is to see pregnant ladies and babies unless you have lost one yourself. I know I can’t stop it from happening and I have no choice to see it from afar, but I don’t need it up close and in my face, I need to distance myself a bit from it, especially around the weeks leading up to little one’s anniversary… as we’ve seen in the past it can stress me out that much I can end up in full psychosis or full of delusions about my baby needing me so I must end my life to be with him. It can lead to me trying to take my own life so that I can be wherever he is. So yeah, you could say that it can have a pretty significant impact on me, my life and my mental health.

I just wish someone had told me and prepared me a little bit. Now I don’t know what the hell to do for the best. I don’t want to end up suicidal to the point of trying to make active attempts to end my life… I don’t want to end up with delusions… I don’t want to end up in the bin… why did they have to make something so hard that could have been dealt with so easily by just casually mentioning it to me a couple of months ago when I wasn’t ‘at the top of the list’ so I could have prepared myself for waiting a bit longer to see the new psychologist. Why keep me going, keep telling me I’m nearly at the top, just hang on a little bit longer and then hit me with it in a letter. Part of me thinks CPN#2 did it deliberately because I know she knows I don’t like her and she’d probably be quite happy to see me properly messed up again.

Maybe I should just get back in touch with new psychiatrist and say fuck it, let’s do this ECT shit… it can’t be any worse than how I feel when I leave my appointments with CPN#2… it certainly can’t be any less productive as the sessions with her are so unproductive already. Maybe zapping my brain is what I need to stop me reacting so strongly when I do have to be around babies and pregnant people or maybe six years on I’m still in so much pain and still grieving so badly that nothing at all will help other than hanging onto the thought that if it all gets too much I can just go and end it all and get to be with my little angel again… at least I do know that option will always be there…

OK, I think I’ve vented enough now so…

/End of rant.

22:27 – What I wish I could say to my friends & family

15 Nov

This is one of the posts I started writing a few days ago when I was having a bit of an emotional moment thinking about my little boy, missing him so badly, my heart just feeling completely broken. I came across this article which was written back in July by a woman named Samantha Hayward who also lost a baby, a little girl named Ella. The full article is here: http://www.mamamia.com.au/parenting/ten-points-i-wish-every-person-knew-about-the-death-of-a-child/ but the part of the article that really resonated with me was the ’10 things she wishes every person knew about the death of a child’ that she wrote about (well all of them apart from the ones regarding her living children as obviously that doesn’t apply in my case).

Here are some of the points she wrote and I wish so much I could be writing this as a letter or email and sending it to my nearest and dearest rather than writing them here on my blog. Why can’t I send it to those closest to me? I really don’t know. Fear of something, but I can’t put my finger on what…

Anyway – here are some of the things I wish I could say taken from Samantha’s article:

Let’s start with her first paragraph:

“The soul destroying agony of your child dying is only truly known and understood by those who have endured it. Four years on, (six for me) I still glance down at my daughters grave in disbelief. Visiting my child’s grave is surreal. It’s almost like I’ve vacated my body and I’m watching someone I don’t know standing there putting flowers down.

Is this really my life ?”

(I wonder that a lot as well – this is my little angel’s headstone) :-(

My little angel's headstone

My little angel’s headstone

 

1. Four years on I get up every day with the exact same sadness I had the day Ella died.The only difference is I’m more skilled at hiding it and I’m much more used to the agony of my broken heart. The shock has somewhat lessened, but I do still find myself thinking I can’t believe this happened. I thought that only happened to other people. You asked how I was in the beginning yet you stopped, why? Where did you get the information on what week or month was good to stop asking?

Note: This is so completely true. In my case, six years (almost seven) I get up each day with the exact same sadness as when my little boy went to Heaven. But in a way I think I will always feel this way and I sort of hope that I always do, no matter how painful it may be. I would hate to think that there will ever be a day that could pass where I don’t think about my precious little prince. Maybe that’s why the grieving process takes so long, because we are terrified if we allow ourselves to fully grieve that somehow we will forget our angels and that thought is scarier than the thought of spending the rest of my life grieving for him. But the line of being ‘more skilled at hiding it’ – she hit the nail on the head there. That’s all that does happen, you hide your pain better (from others) but learn somehow to keep it to yourself. Why? Keep on reading and you’ll find out. People change towards you when you lose a baby/child in ways you would never believe.

2. Please don’t tell me that all you want is for me to be happy again. Nobody wants that more than I do, but it’s something that can only be achieved with time. On top of that, I have to find a new happiness. The happiness I once felt, that carefree feeling, will never return in its entirety. It also helps to have the patience and understanding from loved ones.

Note: I have completely lost the ability to feel happiness at the moment. When I have a brief moment of feeling happy I’m instantly hit with the guilt train in my own head. How dare I be happy when my little boy is not here?! It may be almost seven years but I’m still trying to walk the road to finding a level of happiness that I can live with, without having the guilt for feeling happy added in. I hope one day that time will come, but right now I’m still not there yet. I wish my friends and family could somehow understand that.

3. Please don’t say ‘I want the old Sam back!’ Or, I can see the old Sam coming back! Sam’s not coming back. This is who I am now. If you only knew the horror I witnessed and endured you would know it’s not humanly possible for me to ever be the same person again. Losing a child changes who you are. I’ve been told my eyes look haunted.

It’s a strange thing for someone to tell a grieving mother, but it’s true – I am haunted. My views on the world have changed, things that were once important are not now and vice versa. I feel as though you’re telling me two things here. Firstly you don’t like the person I am and, secondly if the old Sam’s not coming back I’m out of here. By the way there is nobody that misses the “old Sam” more than me!!! I’m mourning two deaths here; my daughter’s and my former self.

Note: I have lost count of the amount of times people have said they want the old me back or think they see the ‘old me’ coming back… the ‘old me’ will never come back… I’m a completely new person because of my experiences. If you think it’s hard for you seeing me as a different person now take a moment to think how hard it is for me. This is my life now, this is my reality. I can’t just switch it on and off, it’s here permanently, 24/7, always. And I need to live this life… forever.

4. If you chose to acknowledge my daughter’s birthday or the anniversary of her death on the first year, it’s terribly gut wrenching when you didn’t bother to acknowledge the second or third or fourth. Do you think any subsequent birthday or anniversary is not as sad for me? It also says to me in very big neon lights that you’ve moved on and forgotten about my daughter.

Note: On the first year after losing my little boy my fiancé at the time, my little mans Daddy gave me a Mother’s Day card from my angel. Yes it made me cry but it also meant so much to me. The second year he did the same. I also got him a Father’s Day card the first two years. Then on the third year our relationship was seriously rocky and it wasn’t long til we split up for good but during that rocky period I still got a Father’s Day card for him and posted it through his door. Not with my name on it anywhere, just our little angel’s. That year he phoned me angrily and told me not to bother ever getting him a card again and it was time for me to “get over it”. It broke my heart hearing those words. I could deal with him not wanting me any more, I could just about accept he’d cheated on me and our relationship was over, but to say he never wanted to be acknowledged again as our baby’s father – that hurt right to my core. Even now when he makes contact with me at the start of every February to ask if I want to go with him to the cemetery on the little man’s anniversary I think of that moment and feel utter hatred towards him. I’ll never forget the day he said those words to me and will probably always hate him for saying them. It hurts a lot that nobody gets me a Mother’s Day card any more. I might not have my angel here but I was still a Mummy :'(

5. I did notice. To the friends and family that found the entire death and dealing with my sadness all too hard and held secret events behind my back that were lied about, stopped inviting me to things I had always been included in and slowly ended our relationship thinking I didn’t notice.

I did notice. The only reason why I never said anything is because I’m not wasting my words on your shameful behaviour. I am thankful for something though – I didn’t waste any more time on people that were capable of such shallowness and cruelty. Please don’t fear. I would be the first one by your side if the same thing happened to you. That should give you some indication of how horrible it is.

Note: Yep… and they still do it now…

6. Grieving for a child lasts until you see them again. It’s a lifetime. If you’re wondering how long your friend or family member might be grieving for, the answer is forever. Don’t rush them, don’t trivialise their sadness, don’t make them feel guilty for being sad and when they talk to you, open your ears and listen, really listen to what they’re telling you. It’s possible you’ll learn something. Don’t be so cruel as to give up on them remember it’s not about you it’s about them.

I’ve been left repeatedly heart broken as friends that I truly loved and never thought would walk away from me tossed me into the ‘too hard’ basket or – more hurtfully – the crazy basket. Phone calls stopped, text messages stopped, comments on Facebook stopped and I get the same thing every time. “Sorry darling I’m just flat out”, “Let’s catch up soon” and “I miss you.” The list could keep going but I get it. I’m not the type of person either that is going to pursue a friendship I know the other person doesn’t want. Everyone has a conscience and thankfully I don’t have to live with theirs.

Note: I read this and just nod my head with a sad expression on my face and a lump in my throat… she’s right, this is the reality of it, I’ve lost a hell of a lot of friends since losing my precious baby… I know people who have the attitude of ‘they just don’t know what to say’ – and maybe if *I* had the strength to share this post with them then they would. I guess I’ve at least had the strength to share it with you guys… maybe one day I’ll try to get those in my ‘real life’ to try to understand as well.

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