Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Stress Stress Stress


This is the longest I have ever went without posting.  There are a few reasons but mostly just life! Life has gotten in the way and there has been a lot of diversions in my way.

This has been 1 tough year!  I like to think that I can be pretty strong but sometimes things can get in top of me, and the last few months have been no exception.

So to sum up the mental side of my life, for those who haven't read my blog before'. I am 32 years old, I have had anxiety since I was 19, which lead to full blown agoraphobia at the age of around 22/23.  After 5 years of doing NOTHING but sitting at home, I fought back. I fell in love, I got engaged, I got pregnant, I got a house and I moved out of the family home.  I learned to drive. I started living again.  I pushed the boundaries. Took on new challenges that I never imagined would ever be possible! I kicked anxieties ass to be honest. But then life got in the way.

My relationship turned sour in the most horrendous way.  Cheating, mental and verbal abuse. Then physical abuse. The police were involved, Court dates, yadda yadda yadda. But I stayed strong and I kept fighting the anxiety. I took him back. Yeh I know I am an idiot but we all do crazy things when in love.  And I tried to make it work, keep the family together. But as I knew it would the cheating and the unhappiness happened all over again, just as I knew it would.

So.... that brings us to this year.  We started the year together, Nathans dad and I.  Why did he cheat?  Well because of my agoraphobia.  He wants to live a life full of travel and excitement and he wants to share those experiences with a partner.  And so although I knew he went about it in the wrong way (over and over and over again) I also felt like I couldn't really blame him.  Maybe that's wrong but its how I felt. We didn't do anything together.  He wasn't a very hands on father and worked away A LOT. So I was left raising Nathan alone.  I found it really difficult focusing on tackling my anxiety when I had other responsibilities to deal with.

Being a Mum

Breakfast, Bath, Get dressed, Go to the shops, Lunch Time, Nap time, Play time, Dinner, Pajamas on, Bed.

So when and where do I fit in getting out there and pushing?? When  do I fight back?

Do I take my son out in the car and see how far I can go?  I suppose that's possible but I never really felt it was fair on him.  Especially if I did panic. A 2 year old ain't gonna help me out is he?

And so every day blurred into the next.  Days turned into weeks and weeks to months.  My partner would arrive home after working away and I would just enjoy seeing him.  I was happy to make a meal and just be a family at home.  Cuddle up and share our sons experiences.

'Look how much he has grown and hes learned so many new words this week. Watch this new thing he can do' 

I was proud. He was only ever home for a couple of days at a time. And so we never really made plans.  Big mistake I guess, looking back.  But my limitations had crept back up on me and I wasn't comfortable doing much.

Within my little bubble I could function fine.  Going small walks and drives.  Taking Nathan to the park. Visiting friends and family.  But there isn't much in my little town.  Certainly no nice restaurants or recreational facilities. To do those things we would need to travel further. And since I wasn't getting a chance to practise that stuff, well I couldn't suddenly just do it because my partner wanted me to.  As much as I might have liked to.

I did explain that we needed to start small.  That when he was home he should come with Nathan and I to the park.  We should try swimming in the new pool.  Small family things.  Get me used to being with him again as I was always doing things alone. Just Nathan and I.

We went to the park once.  Just once.

He continued to work and work and when he was home he would explain he had a night out with the boys planned, which I was always ok with. He deserves it, he works hard!

He wasn't on nights out with the boys.  He was out with other women.  Nights out, champagne, hotel stays.  Some will say it was wrong.  Some will say he needed it.  Its irrelevant now.

Round about April I realised the extent of what had been doing on and so I asked him to leave.  I packed up all his stuff and closed the door.  Time to start again.

I felt pride that I had stood up for myself. Cause I knew that what he did was wrong.  I was keeping house and raising Nathan, doing a good job of both.  Ok I have anxiety issues but here is no need for that kind of betrayal.  And so for the first few months I was strong, probably because I was angry.

But time passes and emotions change.  I went through anger, then I went numb, kind of blocked it out.  We kept in touch now and then by phone but there was no real contact. He had moved with his work and was now a plane trip away.  Probably the best for us, but not really the best for being a dad.

We went through 7 weeks with no visits. Nathan got the odd phone call or facetime but that was it.  Then 3 weeks ago he said he was coming up and wanted to see his son. 

I have explained on here before that I have been struggling with separation anxiety when it comes to Nathan. I don't mind him being away from me, but due to my own issues with distance, I don't like when I know hes far away.  Ive always said I would let my agoraphobia affect him as little as possible. So ive had to suck it up and let it go.  When he goes out for the day with his grandparents, sometimes im fine. Sometimes I struggle.  I can never really predict how i'm going to react. But I am used to them taking him out, I am not used to his dad taking him out.  So... I can get really nervous.  Call it irrational but its all anxiety pretty irrational?

So he came up for his first visit and it was pretty horrendous.  Throughout all the years we were together I kind of shut down my emotions as I just couldn't handle anymore pain. Im generally pretty numb now and don't really express emotions at all. I never cry. never.  But when he came back into our home I felt it. My anxiety and pain all came to the surface and it was scary! I cried, I felt sick, I panicked. God I must have been attractive!! But I also felt like it was a release I had been needing for a long long time.  Why did I feel those things?  Well I realised that there was no hatred there anymore.  Yes I will never forgive or forget what he has done, but mostly I was just heartbroken that our family was in tatters.  And that my son will now be raised without a full time dad.  That he will never remember us being a couple.  I was also very aware that my back up was gone.  My support.  Someone to take a little bit of the parental pressure off whenever he was home from work.  This was it now. I was on my own.

My devastation changed nothing.  In those moments I would have taken him back.  As crazy as I know that is, I'm just telling the truth. I would have had him back in a heartbeat.  But he didn't want it.  Said he couldn't go back to that life.  And so he was gone.

What now?  Back to the grind.  Full time mum head back on.  Emotions reeled back in, huge wall built around myself I got on with things.  Mum duties commenced and I was OK.  I decided that I have had enough of anxiety, of limitations.  I am tired of looking at facebook and feeling envy towards the people checking in at the airport, or posting pictures of family days out at the beach.  Do they know how truly lucky they are?

So I called my doctor and told them I needed some help.  I told them its high time my meds are changed because mines just do not work.  Ive been on them for over ten years so I must be immune by now! Ive been talking about changing for a long time but avoided it like everything else.  I also explained that I am exhausted ALL. THE. TIME.  So we arranged for some blood tests to be done.  Something else I had been meaning to get round to.  Apparently they are giving me a really good check up and are testing for all sorts, anaemia, thyroid problems etc. All tests done, the results are due any day.

So while all this is going on something even more important happened when I was called into the nursery.  The teachers wanted to have a word with me about Nathan.  OK so at this point Nathan was 2 and a half years old, but they had noticed a few things that concerned them.  Nathans speech was quite immature, but I just assumed this was a 'boy thing'.  My nephews were quite slow with their talking and so it never overly worried me.  His speech and a few other behaviours were discussed, very minor things, but they asked if I would mind if the education psychologist could observe him (along with a few of the other children)  Obviously I agreed and so I was called back in a few weeks later for the results.  Basically I have a very happy very clever little boy, but he is showing some signs of autism.

At 2 and a half they don't want to label him as it is too early to tell.  But he has been referred to speech and language therapy and we are taking it from there.  The psychologist did say things like 'will struggle at school' which did come as a surprise to me as I do agree that hes very clever, but only time will tell. However, this is the start of a long process of meetings and obviously a worrying time too.  So the stress levels are being thoroughly tested.

3 weeks back at work and Nathans dad announces hes coming back for a visit. This time he doesn't want to see me, he wants to take Nathan away on his own.  We have had a total communication breakdown now and all we do is fight. Via phone, via email, via text.  And so I thought I would do the sensible thing and contact a lawyer.  I thought it would be best to have a 3rd party make the necessary arrangements as we just cannot talk to one another anymore. He did not like this at all.  I would have thought it would suit him better, as it protects him too, but he wasn't happy.  After a lot more texts back and forth he finally agreed he would contact his lawyer. BUT since he doesn't have time to do it on this visit he wants Nathan before the agreement is made.  Tomorrow.

So the arrangement is that Nathans granddad will pick him up and take him to his dad. And I feel ill. I know this has to be done. Would I be feeling ok about this if I didn't have the anxiety issues?  I don't want it but im decent enough to know that what hes done to me shouldn't affect his relationship with his son. And Nathan will be happy to see his dad.

And so the saga continues................................

What never fails to amaze me is the physical symptoms extreme stress can cause. In the worst moments I have literally felt like my brain has expanded and my head is swimming.  The saying 'cant think straight' is an understatement.  I've had palpitations, sweats, panic, breathlessness, dizzy spells, pins and needles in my hands, and really crappy thoughts.  Someone described this as 'stinking thinking' which I thought was quite good. Dealing with the mental and physical symptoms of stress is scary! But in a way its been a good challenge for me as I have faced it, accepted it and found out the best ways to keep myself comfortable.  Sometimes I have felt like something is ready to give.  Surely I cannot handle another blow, ill lose it! But I surprise myself that eventually I pull myself together and it passes.  I am staying positive and telling myself that ive had a bit of a tough time but I am still strong and still focused on a good life for myself and Nathan. And now I am completely single and the unhealthy relationship is over, surely things can only get better?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

24 hours in my head


Cant quite believe my last post was in January. I knew it had been a while but JEEZ! Many apologies im sure you have all been on the edge of your seats to hear about the latest goings on in my life (yes im being sarcastic) So firstly a quick update.  I am still working and I am still a non smoker. YEY! High 5s all round.

The website has completely changed and grew quite a lot since I last wrote.  I am now working from

That's the basics. What else can I report.

I missed my best friends wedding. Couldn't make the journey and was totally gutted, but I put the memory into a little box in my brain never to be revisited (until blogging). Why dwell on it and upset myself? I didn't make it, I cant change it I can only look forward.

Winter here has lasted forever.  Today has been our first day of sun and its really had an effect.  I have been feeling very 'flat'.  Usually by this time of year we have had a few weeks of sunshine.  Im rocking a nice little tan and all the lovely vitamins from the sun have perked me up and im quite a happy soul.  The grey gloom has pulled me down a bit, and the demand of the website has caused a few issues. 

I have customers who are relying on me. That's pressure.  I have deliveries that need to be made on time.  That's pressure.  If I was to describe the ins and outs I would bore you but lets just say a lot of time and energy needs to go into the business and it all equals pressure and stress which for someone with anxiety, isn't necessarily a good thing.

On the outside im sure I look like im in control. Im doing well. Nathan is doing great, such a happy boy as always.  Inside my head is spinning.  Join me for 24 hours in my head. ...

Uch its 6 am
What will we do today
I cant travel many places with Nathan. That's not fair on him
Am I a crap mum
Better give him breakfast.
Poor Nathan deserves better than this
Its raining where can we go
We cant stay in all day its not fair on Nathan and I need out
Everyones at work, no one to visit. Cant go anywhere decent on my own with him... too nervous
We will go a walk.
Post mans been. Deliveries. Lets sort these orders.
whos is this, where does this go, need to get these sorted
'be there in a minute Nathan mummies busy'
This isn't fair on him either.
Parcels ready.
Tidy the house, bath time. look out clothes.
Poor Nathan sitting watching tv alone... bored im sure. Bad mum
OK we will go to the post office and the shop. At least we are getting out
Jobs done... now what.
Weve been out for half an hour, that's not enough.
Where to go? We will go a walk.
Ive walked where I can comfortably walk to. Poor Nathan this isn't enough.
Hes pulling to go further but mummys pulling him back in another direction with some excuse.
(passing my relfection in a mirror) god I look tired
I am tired
Im exhausted.
I need to eat better
I eat a lot of junk!
I am getting no goodness from my food
I should really look into getting some vitamins.
I wonder if im ill
Im always tired. Wonder if theres something more to it?
IM awfully thin looking. Not good
And when will I get to a dentist. My teeth are a mess
But im too scared. I don't like that numbness and the fact I cant control it
Lunch time. What to make
Soup again Nathan. Boring. Easy. Crap Mum
What now?
Draw, play? Pass time
Dinner. Mediocre. As long as you eat im happy, but wheres the goodness in that meal. bad mum
Bed time. Story time. Love love love you baby.
He deserves more
He will get more
Ill do better
when im stronger
He has love and a happy home. That's what matters
He is clever and happy. That's what matters
I will make sure he grows up full of dreams and ambition
He wont end up like me
am I making him like me?
Work on the website
lights out. am I ok
im anxious and that had all gone
Am I depressed? ive never been depressed. I don't want to be depressed.
maybe my meds aren't working anymore
do I need to try new ones
I don't want to try new ones
wake up
what will we do today?
Thank god he has nursery so hes being entertained and not stuck with me

And congratulations you have just spent 24 hours in my head.  Not good at the moment. But I know why. And I know how to fix it.

I would come on here and tell you all the good things that have been going on. Inspire you to keep pushing. But is it realistic? Yes it can be. It can be all good. I can be easy when in the right frame of mind.  But I wanted to be honest and show that sometimes it can be shitty again. But whats important is to recognise what's going on and WHY.

I have been working too much, taking too much on. Not looking after myself. Not eating well enough.  Not exercising at all. Not making time for things to help me relax. and I feel that's what I need to focus on now. Natural positivity. But again most importantly im not living in the now. Im not enjoying the moment. I am miles ahead of myself freaking myself out with 'what ifs' that haven't even happened yet. Time to slow down. Chill out and BREATHE!!!

No wonder im exhausted with my head spinning over those subjects ALL day and I mean ALL day.  How on earth im not back on the ciggies I will never know but I guess it shows a strength. A strength that I know I have within. And its the strength im holding onto now and I know this, like every other downer, will pass

Live in the now people. Dont dwell on the past or worry about the future. Baby Steps. Day to Day. Breathe. Relax. Be calm. Breathe. Relax. Be calm xxx

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Christmas, New Year & New Beginnings

Hello lovely blogland peeps  Let me first say Merry Christmas, Happy New year, Happy Thanksgiving and happy birthday.... if i have missed any other greetings then i apologise profuseley!!! It has been a crazy month and i just have not had the time OR the energy to update my blog so here i am with an overdue update.

So i ended my last post talking about a psychic, a new man and a job.  And since i should keep things in date order to make it simple i will start with the job.

As the winter months approached I found myself and Nathan spending less time outdoors and becoming less active.  As always this was beginning to affect my mood and it was a major case of groundhog day for me.  Every day felt like an exact replica of the one before, and the one before that.  I was getting fed up, anxious and irritable.  What to do?

On facebook one night i noticed a women i know who has a hair salon discussing looking for a new receptionist.  I know the salon was well within my comfort zone, and i already knew the girls who worked there.  Not very well, they have no idea about my agoraphobia, but enough that i wouldnt feel totally out of my depth at my first job in 10 years!! And so i sent the woman i private message and put myself forward.  It was a Thursday night and within about 10 minutes i was told i could start on the Saturday morning.

I was totally delighted.  I knew the work would never be a huge challange but that wasnt what it was about for me.  it was about getting back out there, meeting new people and gaining some confidence!Plus after so many years unempolyed it would be the much needed start to a new CV.

Of course i was worried that i wouldnt be able to do it.  Being tied to appointment times can make me nervous enough so the thought that i would be expected in the salon at a specific time seemed daunting but the fact that i would be expected to stay there for 8 hours and not run home made me really unsure.  But i wanted to do it, i felt i NEEDED it and so i started that Saturday morning and i havent looked back.

It was originally only supposed to be a Saturday i was working, which suited me fine.  It would be breaking me in gently.  But with December being their businest month, i soon found myself working everyday from 9 - 6.  It was tiring and really hard to juggle work and Nathan, but i enjoyed it.  Ive never once felt anxious in the shop.  I feel like my old self before all the anxiety crap started.  I chat away to customers and i have surprised myself with how out going i must seem (if only they knew eh).  No one there knows about my past struggles or my 'agoraphobia' and i dont see why they need to.  It doesnt affect me at all in there and so im just one of the girls.  The christmas 'work night out' could have awkward as it was miles away and i couldnt possible attend, but i couldnt get a baby sitter anyway so i didnt really have to explain that one.

Joining the salon has made it possible for me to meet other girls to socialise with, which was another reason i was keen on the position.  There are about 7 regular staff members and its been great being girly again and catching up on the latest gossip.  One Sunday night we all decided to head to the pub for some karaoke.  After a few dodgy numbers from myself i spotted a guy i knew across the bar.  This guy had always caught my eye, and for some reason i had always imagined he would be ideal for me.

He came over to join me and we got chatting, for some reason a voice in my head was niggling that i should ask for his number.  I felt that if i didnt just take the oppurtinity to do it, id regret it.  So i came out with it (how very brazen!!) and he looked delighted.  So obviously this was the man i had mentioned in my last post.  I could go into detail here but to be honest its pretty pointless.  he was lovely, and everything i thought he would be.  An absolute gentleman, polar opposite of what i was used to.  Wine, Flowers, chocolates, compliment after compliment.  He was everything i have always wanted in a guy and i couldnt believe i had found it. He accepted me 100% as i am, or at least he said he did, but in the end i just didnt want it.  Ive gotten quite used to being on my own with Nathan and im enjoying it.  For far too long i was living my life, firstly for Nathan, and second for my ex.  And its been nice to just have some 'me' time again.  So im keeping it that way for a while or at least till i meet someone who really sweeps me off my feet and so far thats just not happened.

So December was proving to be a really tough month with work, and Nathan and christmas approaching.  I was sensing Nathan was changing towards me but i knew it was just because i was suddenly away all the time.  he didnt understand what was going on and he was becoming quite clingy and very moody! So it was either my absence or the start of the terrible twos uh oh.  Guilt crept in as it always does, that not only was he not getting enough stimulation everyday, but now he wasnt getting to see me enough and it was at this point that my friend made a lovely suggestion.

She reminded me of a nursery right next to my work where Nathan would be able to join when he turned 2.  yeh it would be private and i would have to pay for it, but the fees werent too ridiculous and it was absolutely worth it to get Nathan socialising with other children and of course to get his education started.  I went for a meeting hoping we would be put on a waiting list and would hear back asap but even better i was told he could start the following week.  Nathan now attends nursery every Monday and Wednesday afternoon and he absolutely loves it.  He is mixing with his own little friends, getting involved in all sorts of activities like arts & crafts etc and it came at the perfect time for christmas.  he had his christmas party and he got to meet Santa and his reindeer.  I have loved seeing his confidence grow, never a shy boy, but im proud as punch watching him interact with his class mates.  The moods swings havent been so bad and he actually claps his hands when he seens us approach the nursery building so im pretty confident i made the right decision with this one.

The psychic, again ill keep this brief.  I have seen psychics before and have always seen it as a bit of fun, not something to take too seriously, but its been a long time since i had a reading and i fancied getting another one done.  It was also an excuse to have all the girls round to mine for drinks and food and just have a laugh.  So i booked a guy who came recommended and we all got together to hear our predicitons.

As with most of my readings theres a lot wrong, and also a lot right.  He began with 'well Lynn i see your a bit of a party animal', clearly he could not be more wrong.  I was getting ready to be thoroughly disappointed but he soon went into discussing my last relationship and the fact i went through a difficult time.  He knew all about court and went on to describe what had happened to me and the mental, physical abuse that occured.  Then there was a slight contradiction where he said 'the relationship is rekindling and in January the same thing will happen again (i.e i will be physically hit), but then said in April i will be buzzing because i will have stuck to my guns and won the battle with my ex.  I wont have taken him back and i will be a much stronger person because of it.  The January part really scared me and for a few days i was understanably nervous but im over it now.  I know it wont happen because im not daft enough to put myself in a position where it COULD happen.  Watch this space.

So Christmas was very welcome as it meant that the madness of work was over.  Finally i was off and had absolutely nothing to do for a few days.  Bliss!!  Also throughout december the jewellery business really took off so juggling all these things together was an absolute nightmare so when christmas arrived i was more than ready to put my feet up and eat myself into oblivian!  I enjoyed a nice meal with my mum and then went home with Nathan to play with all the goodies Santa had generously left that morning.  As New Year approached i decided i wanted to go out.  Having spent many many new Years at home, anxious, panicking, i felt i wanted to make the most of getting out and enjoying myself.  I managed to get tickets for a pub near by and expected to meet lots of girls i knew once i was there.  The place was jumping but i didnt know as many people as i thought.  However, i was glad i went and brought in 2013 with a smile, a drink and some bagpipes.  Scottish style!!

So did you guys make any New Year resolutions??  Ive never bothered before but this year i made the half hearted decision that i would finally quit cigarettes.  Ive been a smoker for 15 years now and i LOVE my ciggys.  My whole day was based around 'fag breaks', quite sad really.  But i used to really look forward to when Nathan went to bed and i would get my feet up and happily puff away till my heart was content.  For years though it has been taking its toll, and more recently i was getting worried about my breathing.  I couldnt walk far at all without being breathless, way more breathless than a girl of my age should be!  I would wake up maybe 2 or 3 times a night purely to smoke infact i could list many many bad points to my habit but why go on.  At the end of the day we all know that smoking is bad for us and we should stop!  So the 1st of January came and with a packet of fags in my pocket i decided i would just carry on.  I LOVED smoking.  I really didnt want to stop, and so i felt that while i loved it so strongly, there was no point in trying to quit because i would just fail at the first hurdle.

I dont really know what happened.  Maybe it was the state of my breathing and the fact i had to pysically stop walking to fill my lungs but on the 2nd of January i smoked my last cigarette.  I kept my packet and told myself that if i really wanted one, id have one, but to just give it a go.  Really see how long you can go without one.  That first day was hard, cigarettes and smoke and nicotine was all i thought about.  Day 2 was the same.  But my stubborn streak took over and i knew then and there that i would never be a smoker again.  if i had already made it 48 hours without a cigarette then surely i had made it through the most difficult part.  Surely thats when my cravings would be the strongest? I did have a little help though, i had heard about the electronic cigarettes and how they can help you to quit, so when i was REALLY desperate for a smoke on day 2, i went and bought one and it totally worked!  As i sucked on that thing with all my might i felt myself relax and the craving subside.  I used it again when i was having a tough time but as the days passed i started to use it less and less.  That was a week ago.  I am now a non smoker.  I am SO proud of myself. I have to say for me it has been easy.  Much easier than i ever imagined it would be.  Which is what put me off trying to stop in the first place.  Yes there were tough times, but they are totally managable with distraction and will power.  To be sitting here now, not stinking of smoke, with ashtray breath, smelly clothes and genuinley not wanting a cigarette, its been more than worth it.  Im finding it much easier to breathe already.  Im noticing changes when im out walking.  I look healthier!  Im no longer an attractive shade of grey when i get up in the morning, and i just know im going to notice more and more benefits.  Its only been a week so i dont want to get to ahead of myself but i know myself, and i know i have cracked it.  I have no desire to smoke again but am loving the fact that every day my body gets a little cleaner.  Nathan will never look at his mum with a cigarette hanging out her mouth or have her smokey breath all over him.  Why would i want to change that?

It surprised me how strong i was, how stubborn.  It has reminded me what is possible when we REALLY put our minds to something.  A few months ago i wrote a post describing the feeling of dread as the winter months approached.  I was anxious about the weather, but seasonal depression.  I was forward thinking and expecting a really dull and gloomy time but here we are in January, the worst of our winter passing, and i feel great.  I have been active and sociable, resposible, happy, confident.  I feel this post was over due as i like you guys to know whats been happening but i also feel it really isnt anxiety or agoraphobia based, which is what you come here to read is it not?  I hope that you have stepped into 2013 with confidence in mind.  I am looking forward to the summer which i LOVE and im looking forward to new challenges.  Hopefully we can share them together x