Friday at last

I am so glad it is finally Friday night! It is currently just after 7pm and I am sitting at the kitchen table quickly typing this before my husband returns home with the kids and the madness begins.  I think I’ve said this before, probably often, but I am going to say it again. I love them all dearly and once they are here, I won’t feel this way.. but I could so do with some peace and quiet on Friday nights.  The sheer noise they make as a collective is just too much for my sensitive ears sometimes. The bags and coats and shoes thrown around in all different directions, the need to tell us this and tell us that. The slumping on the sofa and the tv remote being grabbed away from near me and the channel changed.. all within literally MINUTES of their arrival and then I have to start cooking dinner for me and my husband and then soon after it is the youngest’s bedtime, then my husband conveniently “forgets” the time and lets middle child stay up waayy past her bedtime (every week) meaning I end up going to bed at the same time as her and leaving my husband and the eldest child up together.  Tomorrow it all begins again but add to that story breakfasts, mess, showers x 5, mess, wet towels etc, daytime activities, mess, lunches, mess, dinner time stress, mess, time to pack the kids bags, make sure I have washed their clothes, dried their clothes and also washed our own clothes, bedding, towels etc.. take them home… ahh it is relentless sometimes.

I have to say to all the mothers and fathers out there that do this daily… you are all amazing.  I get exhausted from just the weekends.  On top of working full time it is just knackering.

Anyway, moan, moan.. this wasn’t actually meant to be a miserable blog LOL.  You probably won’t believe me now but I am feeling alright tonight. The above is all true and it is exhausting but I am actually fine, I am not struggling emotionally or anything. It’s just the usual Friday knackerd-ness that’s all.

Moving on!

So the working week is over. Thank God. It has been testing at times.  I have cried only once at work this week, which was Wednesday morning and I’ve only had one emotional breakdown which was Tuesday night before therapy.  Could be worse, right? ha!

I am off to a spinning class at 8am tomorrow morning so I will be up early and heading to the gym for that and I am thinking about showering and getting ready there afterwards which I don’t usually do but I’m thinking it will give me a little bit more time to myself and mean I avoid the chaos and shower-fighting here, so that’s probably a win.

Tomorrow night we are going out for a drink with my brother and his girlfriend.  We haven’t been out just the 4 of us before.  There is quite an age gap, they are only 21 but they are good fun and it should be nice.  I am slightly anxious about it but I have no need to be, it’s just because it’s something new.  It will be good I am sure.

My mother text me this afternoon whilst I was at work. She wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas. I replied asking if we could make and stick to a small budget because I was skint. I said that me and my brothers had done a secret santa and that me and my husband had agreed a set amount etc. I said I had already brought my dad and stepmum’s present and my sister’s so I only had HER’s and my grandparents left.  She replied about the present by saying the words WE would like this and if you want to get US a present…. I was like… ermmmmmmm sorry, there is no “we” or “us” about it.  I am clearly not buying for her husband am I? LOL.

It annoyed me. It probably shouldn’t but it does.  I hate it because it’s like she acts as though there is no problem between me and her husband when there is.  It is infuriating because she acts like it is all fine and then if I respond to her and point out that it is not, she either makes me look crazy by acting completely unaware or she tells me that I need to get over it already and stop dragging it on.  It is a mind-fuck.  It is also quite clever and manipulative really.  How easy it would be to just buy-in to the we and us speak.

I was explaining this to a friend earlier tonight and I said to her, I wouldn’t put it past her to just say something completely random like “Oh, [her husband’s name] said you should pop over for a drink” and leave me completely baffled like.. waaaa??? it’s weird.

Anyway she sent me a load of pictures of things “they” want which are all house related, wine glasses, a cushion, a candle etc and I said I would pick from them.  If she wants to believe they are for both of them, then she can I suppose.  It does make writing the card difficult though doesn’t it? She didn’t mention my husband just asked what I wanted but she did say that both my sister and her boyfriend and my step brother and his girlfriend are “all having joint presents which makes things practical and sensible“. I assume that is a hint for me to do the same.  I’m not really sure what to suggest.  Do I ask for something that is clearly for me and risk her then asking what my husband wants (unlikely, but not impossible) and risking then having a very awkward situation where I have to say he doesn’t want anything or her buying him a present and 1) him not wanting to accept it/not wanting to thank her for it… and 2) me not wanting to get her husband anything … LOL.  The thing is I don’t want her to buy me/us anything for our house because I don’t like there to be anything in my house that has come from her. I don’t like the reminders.  In fact before we moved here in March this year I threw away everything she had brought or given me for that exact reason.  That probably sounds harsh but it is for my important to me.

For my 30th birthday earlier this year she brought me an expensive necklace and I can’t wear it. It is such a waste of money but I just can’t. That is just how it is.

Anyway blah blah, sorry this is waffley and not really important.  It’s just helpful to get it all written down and out of my head.  Note: I just typed bed by accident… clearly I am tired ha.

Have a good weekend guys

 

 

 

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So about Emotional Flashbacks..

(This blog is not meant to be informative in any way, I am genuiney intreigued by this concept and pondering it.  I would love a conversation on this if anyone has any ideas, thoughts or opinions).

I have read Pete Walker’s article on emotional flashbacks many times over the years.  Every time I read it, I understand it a bit and things seem to make sense.. and then as quickly as that understanding comes, it goes again because I forget what I’ve read.

This morning yet again I found myself on his page and as I read his description of what an emotional flashback feels like, I realised that what happened to me on Tuesday night was almost certainly an emotional flashback.

As I read things like:

Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions (‘amygdala hijackings’) to the frightening circumstances of childhood. They are typically experienced as intense and confusing episodes of fear and/or despair – or as sorrowful and/or enraged reactions to this fear and despair. Emotional flashbacks are especially painful because the inner critic typically overlays them with toxic shame, inhibiting the individual from seeking comfort and support, isolating him in an overwhelming and humiliating sense of defectiveness.

It explained Tuesday night’s episode SO WELL.  It was intense and confusing and I did feel scared and very, very sad.  Tick.

I was also giving myself a kicking by being SO mad at myself for not knowing *why* I was crying or for not having a memory or current issue to be crying at.  I also kicked myself a few more times for crying AGAIN for crying “all the time lately” and for being a pain in the arse to my husband, my friend who received my messages when I was feeling desperately sad and even T (although to a lesser extent because that is her actual job, right? lol. Well that seems to be the inner critic bit Pete Walker refers to covered.  Tick Tick.

Pete Walker then explains that without help from a kind and supportive other who understands, for me my T, my husband or my friend, that we stay stuck in the pain of the flashback and hurt ourselves even more with our inner critic’s nasty words adding to our already unmanageable pain.  For me that I am stupid, a drama queen, over-the-top, too sensitive, broken, fucked-up etc etc…….

Without help in the moment, the client typically remains lost in the flashback and has no recourse but to once again fruitlessly reenact his own particular array of primitive, self-injuring defenses to what feel like unmanageable feelings.

He then goes on to talk about how this triggers the misfiring of the 4F’s (fight, flight, fawn and freeze) but I haven’t read that much and so I am not going to talk about that tonight.

Apparently the inner critic actually grows in us BECAUSE we were traumatised when we were younger and then it basically causes us yet more pain. How awful and unfair is that? So basically when your nasty parent stops being the one to call you stupid, attention-seeking or pathetic – you take over and do it to yourself and it is so internalised and automatic, that we don’t even notice!

…because the inner critic grows rampantly in traumatized children and because the inner critic is the primary initiator of most flashbacks

And it gets worse!

The psychodynamics of this is that continuous abuse and neglect force the child’s inner critic [superego] to overdevelop hypervigilance and perfectionism – hypervigilance to recognize and defend against danger, and perfectionism to try to win approval and safe attachment. Unfortunately, safety and attachment are rarely or never experienced. Hypervigilance progressively devolves into intense performance anxiety and perfectionism festers into a virulent inner voice that increasingly manifests self-hate, self-disgust and self-abandonment at every imperfection.

That is so true for me. I am extremely hypervigilant and I spent my entire life trying to win approval from my mother which, as Pete says above, never came. Cue some self-hate and some self-disgust at my failings as a human being.

Pete says that he reframes flashbacks as messages from the wounded inner child.  I like this idea (well like sounds weird in this sentence but you know what I mean) because it is harder to stay angry and be so nasty to a poor, helpless and abused child isn’t it? It surely helps to be a little bit more compassionate (which clearly is the idea):

Over the course of therapy, I often reframe flashbacks as messages from the wounded inner child about the denied or minimized traumas of childhood. In this vein I paint flashbacks as the inner child righteously clamoring for validation of past parental abuse and neglect. Flashbacks are the child pleading for unmet developmental needs to be met, none more important than the gradual awakening of a healthy sense of self-compassion and self-protection. This is fundamental to recovery because without self-compassion, clients rarely evolve any substantive self-care habits. Similarly, without reconnecting to the instinct of self-protection, clients rarely develop effective resistance to either internal or external abuse.

He then explains that once we understand these messages are from our poor wounded inner children, we become less ashamed and less critical of ourselves/our self’s and we learn that the intense emotions we are feeling ARE/were appropriate and not “over-the-top” or “dramatic” but we learn to direct the energy towards the people who caused us this pain and we learn to soothe ourselves.

This in turn leads to a reduction of the emotional energy that fuels their flashbacks, and flashbacks in turn, become less frequent, less intense and less enduring.

Okay so that is the facts from Pete’s work.  I personally like this idea, it brings me a bit of a reply to the “why?” in “why am I so upset?” or “why am I so scared?“.  It gives me hope that I am not all the horrible things I think I am when I am triggered into a flashback, more recently that I am getting worse and that I am going to die from the pain and kill off my therapist and my husband along the way with my ridiculous neediness and patheticness! AND it gives me hope that there is an end to this horrible, horrible sadness that I experience.

BUT

Always a but, right?

But I have questions too….  WHY would we feel old feelings now? Why now all these many, many years later? Why not before?

Is the inner wounded child idea actually a thing? Like, really though? I mean, the idea works for me so perhaps I shouldn’t over think it so much, but I can’t help but feel like maybe I am just finding a way to make it okay for myself to cry for hours at a time like a child when really I should be focussing more on “getting over it” (god I hate that phrase!).

Also, do we HAVE to feel these flashbacks? Is that an imperative part of healing? Is there not a way we can just talk, understand and then move on?

It sometimes feels a bit too traumatic to have to almost re-live/re-feel these horrific feelings.  Feelings of being abandoned physically or emotionally, abused.. having to feel the terror, the shame and the anger etc.  Is there not an easier way?

Are we not putting ourselves through something TWICE unnecessarily? Are we not torturing ourselves by encouraging these flashbacks to come?

As you can tell, I like his idea and I WANT it to be true and real and okay, but I find myself still a tiny little bit on the edge not entirely sure whether to dive in or not.

I am not sure why the reluctance although I suspect it has something to do with the fact that my therapist has never used the phrase “emotional flashback” and she also doesn’t speak about “the wounded child”.  Perhaps if she did it would help…. and so… of course, I sent her an email earlier with a link to Pete’s article asking her what she thought and although she didn’t really answer the question (she said she didn’t have time and that we could talk about it together (meh!), she did say:

but I do agree the body needs to find ways to release what is stored”

and to me that is basically like a parent saying “maybe, we’ll see” LOL does anyone get that? Maybe it is the use of the “but“.

Anyway, I am just intrigued really.  I like this idea a lot and I have read it before, I’ve understood it before and I have applied it many times but for some reason today, it is going in at a deeper level.  I think because Tuesday was one of the worst little breakdowns that I have had and because they seem to be happening more often recently and more intensely and also because on Tuesday, there was *nothing* that had happened in the here in and now, and no conscious replay of a memory etc to trigger it.  Crying that much, that suddenly for no reason was a shock.

I am interested in what you guys think, if you can be bothered, please do leave me a comment!

 

So many tears

I’m not quite sure what happened last night. I had felt okay at work, not great, but okay. I felt a little miserable because I had woken up with a cold and so was dozing myself up on day nurse and having to blow my nose a million times and then Michael (the boss who is, let’s say “difficult) decided to be rather rude to me when I was trying to help him set up a very important conference yesterday morning. He looked at me with a look of pure disgust, looked down at his papers and waved me off dismissively. Not the biggest crime of the century but inside me I felt such a rush of anger. I could have exploded!

I stomped off and bumped into my friend and said “he’s such a fucking prick!!” I was so angry you know when you have the energy pulsing through your body and you don’t know what to do with it? Yeah, that was happening.

Anyway, it’s nothing he hasn’t done a million times before but every time it gets me so mad. I told a friend last night that when someone tells me off or is short with me I often get this weird sensation. I don’t know how to explain it really, it’s like…. it sounds ridiculous but it’s like my heart actually hurts for a second and then my eyes instantly fill up and I want to cry. That’s happened to me ever since I can remember. Once I was talking over a news headline and someone said “hang on” and put their hand up and I cried. Even if someone says my name in a way that means “really??” I cry… clearly I’m very sensitive.

Anyway I got on with my day at work and it was okay. Just okay.

When I got on the train after work I felt my mood begin to change and the closer I got to home, the worst my mood was. By the time I reached my house it clearly reached its peak and when I got inside, I absolutely broke down. I’m talking proper sobs, hyperventilating, nearly being sick crying. It was awful.

I didn’t have any thoughts or memories or anything to accompany this breakdown, but I was scared by it. It felt so huge and so consuming and it felt as though it had come from nowhere! What was I crying for?

I was scared by the strength of the tears and the strength of the emotion that was pouring out of me and scared by the fact that I didn’t even know why! I was also angry and annoyed and scared that I was falling apart again! I had only been back at work for 3 days for God’s sake. I had just had 3 weeks off to sort myself out and here I was her again, falling apart.

I text my good friend who was so kind and reminded me to breathe and that it would pass etc. I told her I didn’t want to go to therapy (which was now less than an hour away). I text my husband and told him I was in a state and that I didn’t want to go therapy and he insisted I had to go. He told me he would drive me as I was not in a state to drive. That made me feel guilty because now he had put himself out for me too. Wah!!

I was still a crying mess ten minutes after the time I should have left. Eventually I got into the car and text my T to tell her what was happening. I also told her the truth that I didn’t want to come but that I knew I should and that I was on my way. I took a flask of tea and a big scarf to try and make myself feel safer. I cried the entire car journey.

When I knocked on T’s door, the tears fell again and she said “well done” and I cried more. How on earth can there be so many damn tears??

T basically reassured me that it was okay to cry and that it was okay to come to my session upset and that it was safe. She said how she could handle my emotions and that I wouldn’t kill her off which is what she thought I was afraid of. That I wasn’t too much. I cried again…

She told me that I had never had the experience of being held in my pain. That my mother couldn’t handle my feelings. She asked me what my mother would have done if I was crying like this and I said she would either shout at me or send me to my room. I spent A LOT of time in my room. T said that is why I cry alone and why I would feel too much when I’m feeling strong emotions.

Obviously a lot more was said but I don’t really have the energy this morning to write it all up but one thing I wanted to write about is this. T said “you’re not pregnant are you?” She also suggested I marked on a calendar my moods so we could see if there was some kind of pattern. She also said it could be to do with my cycle . I didn’t think anything of those questions at the time but at 2.00am when my body and brain decided I didn’t need to sleep, I thought to myself “so this isn’t normal then?”. I started panicking and thinking clearly if she’s asking me questions like that, this isn’t a normal reaction from her other clients. So I am being extreme? What is wrong with me?

That thought is bothering me today. It’s worrying me and making me feel stupid.

T kept telling me not to be so critical to myself but it’s hard not to. It makes me feel like a total drama queen. Who cries to that extent without knowing why?

I told T that recently I feel like I’ve got a split personality. One day I’m up early and at the gym and then making cakes and batch cooking dinners…. the next I’m falling apart in my bathroom nearly throwing up from crying so badly. How is that possible?

It’s really tough not knowing what mood you’ll be in from one day to the next even from one moment to the next. I wish I could just go stable like my husband does.

T told me that I’m “not done yet” – I asked her what she meant by that as I thought she meant I wasn’t done with therapy and I thought well clearly! She said I’m not “done” with the crying. She said there was more to come, a lot more and I said I can’t handle more. I don’t want more. I want it to stop.

She keeps telling me that I am okay, that I will be okay. She also keeps telling me that I need to see her twice a week again which I agree with but can’t actually do which is infuriating. I both want to see her more and hate myself for being so needy and so weak. She thinks my subconscious held onto everything all week and didn’t quite make it to her house, which is actually annoying because this is the first week in a very long time that I haven’t been preoccupied with therapy thoughts or narcissism things or anxiety or worry about my mother. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Anyway, I’ve had little sleep but I am up and on the train to work and I think I’ll be okay. I feel delicate and tired but not as bad as last night. My neck hurts, probably from the tension and stress and having a cold makes me feel cold and miserable too.

Quorn, Feminism & Work

Hey guys, how are you all doing?

It is Sunday afternoon here, I am sat (as usual) at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and some grapes ready to write (well, type).  It really is becoming one of my favourite things to do.  I used to write because I was struggling to deal with some feelings or because I needed advice but lately I just enjoy taking some time to sit and write about anything that is in my head, anything that has happened and anything about to happen or even just random crap really! I find it so therapeutic.

So me and my husband went out for breakfast with his parents this morning to a department store where I could finally return that sodding jumper – the one that I tried to return to 3 different places last weekend without success and even took on holiday to return it to a shop there.  It has finally been returned and I have finally be refunded. YAY.

Today I brought my first Christmas present.  My Dad and stepmum said they wanted some new saucepans for Christmas and whilst saucepans are as dull as dishwater, they want them and so I saw a set of 3 for a decent price and purchased them.  As I had got a £40 refund for that jumper it meant they only cost me about £10 (kind of… ) and I also brought myself a new travel mug for work.  However it is no ordinary travel mug, it is called an “rCup” (meaning recycled) and is the “worlds first cup made from used cups”.  It is 100% recyclable and dishwasher safe and it looks nice too! Winning!

On the note of saving the planet, me and my husband have decided this weekend that we are going to give up beef.  My husband read an article about how giving  up beef would reduce more emissions than giving up your car.

Producing 1kg of beef results in more CO2 emissions than going for a three-hour drive while leaving all the lights on at home, scientists said today.

Obviously there is a lot more to it than that so here is one of the articles that I have been reading if you are interested:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2007/jul/19/climatechange.climatechange

Anyway I realise this may bore some people and I don’t want to get into any kind of debate or argument over it, so I shall leave that topic there.  Yesterday I went out and brought some Quorn and I cooked a big chilli con carne and a big shepherds pie and then I froze individual portions ready for weeknights when I don’t feel like cooking or I am short on time.  I feel so impressed with myself haha. I have actually just been out to buy some vegetable stock and some more Quorn and freezer bags and I might make a spaghetti bolognese later too.

I’ve also been reading about feminism and finding myself very interested in it.  What first caught my attention was seeing this in the news:

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2018/oct/05/topshop-axes-penguin-pop-up-to-promote-feminist-book-in-store

So I have now ordered the book and I will report back on my findings soon LOL.

It might sound silly, but reading up on the beef stuff and the feminism stuff has really felt good. It feels like it is all part of me finding myself so to speak.  It is finding out what I enjoy or what I am interested in, what I believe in and not what someone else has told me I like, enjoy or believe in.  I appreciate many people have many opinions about all of these things, and I totally respect that but for me, it feels good.

Moving on..

Yesterday I got up early and went to the gym about 45 minutes before my class was due to start and went into the gym area.  I can’t really run anymore because I have trouble with my knees, but I went on the treadmill and put up the incline and did some power walking.  I did that for about 20 minutes, then went on the bike and then the stair machine (although I don’t think I was doing that right!) then went to my class, body balance which I love.  It was great and I got home about 10am feeling good.

My husband and the kids had some gardening to do so I baked a fruit cake and I felt so good. I felt so positive.  Exercise, baking and playing music as I baked, it is the perfect Saturday morning for me.  Later I took the two boys to the barbers to get their hair cut, popped to the supermarket for Quorn supplies and then did the batch cooking I said about earlier.  It was a busy day, I literally didn’t sit down once but it was full of things I enjoy (apart from writing which I didn’t get time for).

Whilst I was baking I remembered that my mum was doing something that she had told me about when I saw her on Wednesday and I decided to text her and say I hope she was having a nice time.  I haven’t text my mum first for a very long time – mainly because I haven’t wanted to speak to her at all, but as Wednesday went well and she was nice to me, I decided I would.  I thought to myself it is almost like rewarding the good behaviour and ignoring the bad! We exchanged a few messages and she seemed to like the fact I had text her and I felt glad I had afterwards.  It makes such a difference when she can be nice and normal and it has given me a lot of mental space too because my brain wasn’t full up all weekend of me thinking about something she has done or said or dreading hearing from her or seeing her or reading about narcissism or trauma or therapy…. it seems to have really given me some peace and I guess in turn it has enabled me to just get on with doing things I enjoy, like my gym class, baking and cooking.  If only that feeling could stay!

In the evening I went to the pub with my husband for a couple of hours where we chatted about my first day back to work Friday.  I won’t go into loads of detail about that here, mainly because I don’t have time but also because I don’t want to fill my brain with thoughts of work right now haha.  In a nutshell it went fine. I did decide to email the 4 partners I work for and I kept the message simple but said that the reason for my absence had been that I was signed off for struggling a little with my mental health.  I said that I was feeling much better and that I was happy to speak to them and answer any questions but that I would see them I shortly.  3 of the 4 lawyers responded and the one who didn’t respond, appeared at my desk in the morning and asked me to go and have a coffee with him.   The emails I received were all pleasant and the two face to face meetings I had went well.  One of them wasn’t in the office Friday but will be tomorrow and one did see me around but didn’t actually say anything to me – which is fine by me.

Michael, the one I was most worried about was fine.  He wasn’t hugely sympathetic or anything but he did say that someone close to him in his family struggled with anxiety and panic attacks and that he did understand how it can effect a person.  I made of point of saying that I didn’t want it to be public knowledge and that I didn’t want anyone to think it meant I wasn’t capable of doing my job.  He replied “well you are more than capable of your job” which was reassuring to hear because he is such an arse most of the time he has never given me any feedback whatsoever.

The girls in my team were friendly and two of them asked me how I was feeling in a way that suggested they knew why  I had been away – even though I had not told them and I just replied to say I was much better and thanked them for asking.

I think the worst is done, tomorrow should be a bit easier as I have seen most people, just a few to go.  It didn’t help that it was also my first day in the brand new office and so it was all so different.  The new office is amazing though, very clean and modern and impressive.  My new desk has a button where you can stand up and work or sit down and I quite like having the choice.  I had about 600 emails to go back to which took a very long time to clear as you can imagine, but when I left the office, my emails were sorted and I was much more up to speed.

The new office has a gym which you can use for free and also offers free yoga classes on a Monday lunch time. I have signed up to the yoga classes and also registered to attend the compulsory gym induction so that I can use the gym at lunch or maybe before work sometimes. I think that will be really helpful for me.  They are also offering 20 minute meditation sessions on a Thursday lunch and I have put my name down to try that too.  All positive things I think and hopefully things that will help me.

I think that is about it for now. I am going to go and make that spag bol to eat later tonight and we are off to my Dad`s house in an hour.

Bye for now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Day Home

Well this is it, my very last day off of work before I go back tomorrow.  I can’t believe that with the exception of tomorrow, I will have had 3 entire weeks off of work.  3 weeks! In one way it feels like I’ve been away for ages but in another way, it doesn’t feel that long at all.  One thing I have noticed is just how quickly time goes when you aren’t at work every day and how fast the days can slip past you if you don’t “do” much.  There have been days over these past 3 weeks where I have been up early, been food shopping, cooked several meals to freeze, done the washing and the ironing and baked cakes.  There has been days where I’ve watched some films and had a long bath and then there has been days where I’ve hidden in my house with the curtains closed, the front door locked and cried all day, suddenly seeing that it’s 4pm and then feeling guilt and shame for having done nothing at all in the time that my husband has been up, got showered, had breakfast, worked an entire day and commuted home from the city.  Days where I’ve felt like I belong on that god awful daytime TV show where nobody works and everyone is on benefits.

I probably could have been more productive over the last 3 weeks but the reason I was off was for my mental health and my mental wellbeing and I certainly feel much, much better than I did that awful morning when I had to get off the train at a random station due to a horrible panic attack.  I don’t feel like the same girl who was jumping at every single noise and needing to take pills to stop my body being in constant fight or flight mode and so for those reasons, I guess my time off sick has been a success.

I am nervous about going back to work tomorrow and the anxiety is made that bit worse by the fact that in the time I’ve been away, my firm have moved to a brand new office and so tomorrow will also be my first day going to a new location, using the new security system, new lift system, finding my new desk, using a new computer etc.  In all likeliness I will have forgotten my passwords or they will have expired and so it won’t be smooth-sailing but the worst bit, the bit I am the most nervous about is that tomorrow I will have to face everyone about why I have been off for so long.

The person I am most dreading speaking to is my boss Michael.  I think I’ve written about him once or twice, he is quite a difficult man at the best of times and he certainly won’t have appreciated me being out of the office for such a long time.  H.R. have told me that none of my colleagues or bosses know the reason I have been off, just that I have been signed off and so I am sure they will have plenty of questions.

Now, as most if not all of you will know, yesterday was Mental Health Awareness Day and so part of me thinks I should try to fight the taboo a bit and go into work tomorrow and say I was signed off for mental health difficulties or something along those lines.  Perhaps the honesty will be appreciated by other people who may be struggling, perhaps it will prevent lots of further questions? On the other hand, it makes me nervous because there are still so many people who do not understand and so many people who are not able to respond in a caring or kind way and I worry that I may then set myself up for a fall. I am also aware that I tend to overshare (a habit picked up in my childhood where I HAD to tell my mother absolutely every single detail of my life) and so quite how much do I share? How much is “enough” and how do I speak about what has happened without potentially triggering myself to feel the old feelings again?

I had thought about sending an email to the 4 main bosses today to say that I will be back to work tomorrow and that I am nervous about coming back and so to make things a little easier on myself I am sending them this (private) email to tell them why  I have been away and saying I was signed off by my GP because I was struggling with my mental health and that I have had some time off to gather myself a bit.  I could say that I am happy to answer any questions they may have but that I do not want this to be public knowledge and so I would appreciate it if they could keep this confidential.  What do you think about that? Is that a good idea or is that hiding behind an email? Does that make me look worse? I can’t decide. The problem with just walking back in tomorrow having not sent anything, is that they will then ask me to my face in front of all my other colleagues as our office is completely open plan, meaning no offices!

Aside from that, I am going to the gym shortly to do a spin class.  I haven’t been to a spin class for a very long time so I am a bit nervous but I have eaten terribly recently and so I really do need to do some proper exercise.  I’ve booked my lovely body balance class for Saturday morning again like last week but as lovely as that class is, and as good as it is for relaxation and stretching, it doesn’t help with the cellulite! After the spin class I am dropping something off to my friend and then plan to come home, shower etc and iron some work clothes to prevent any extra stress tomorrow morning.  I really want to make the most of my final day off work but it is a hard balance between doing too much so that I feel exhausted later/tomorrow and wasting the day.  I may drive to the seaside or to the woods for a walk.  We shall see.

And lastly, I need to write about seeing my mother yesterday.

I met my mother yesterday afternoon at a nearby hotel bar where we both ordered tea and coffee as we were both driving and as it was only 3.30pm.  When I parked my car I saw her standing in the car park to my right and when I got out of my car she was waving animatedly.  That was a good sign I thought, she must be in a good enough mood! I waved and walked towards her and she greeted me with a huge smile and a kiss “Hello Darling!!!” we walked to the hotel bar and ordered our drinks and sat at a small table which had people either side of it.  I don’t usually like to be so close to other people but I thought it might help lessen the chances of any awkward conversations as other people would be able to hear us.  Ten minutes later however another table became free which was much more secluded and she suggested we moved…I moved but I did panic that now she had me on my own she might become shitty.

We spoke about my recent mini-break, well, we spoke about the weather and I showed her a photo of the beautiful sea view I had from my hotel window. Then I told her that I was going away for New Year’s Eve with my in-laws and told her where we were going etc.  She seemed interested and there wasn’t the usual anger on her face which was nice.

She asked me about our plans to buy a house next year, I asked her about her new house and the renovations she’s been doing.  We spoke about my grandparents’ recent move, about how she is taking up running and various other “normal” conversations.  I kept waiting for the ball to drop…

… but I am pleased to say, it didn’t.

She mentioned her husband in passing as did I but she didn’t ask me to see him, to “make up” with him or to attend anything where he would be which I was worried about.  She didn’t make any shitty comments about my husband (although she didn’t ask how he or the kids were – which I didn’t expect).  She didn’t ask me why I never contacted her or comment passive aggressively about how long it has been since I saw her.  She told me about her holiday back in September and although she did mention it was her husband’s birthday whilst they were there (which I knew but didn’t acknowledge at the time), it wasn’t said with any anger or for any reason other than it was part of the detail of a story she was telling.

It was a VERY different experience from last time at that awful meal.  It was by far the most pleasant of any of the times I have seen her this year since breaking no contact.  The conversation flowed, was light-hearted and we left about 2.5 hours after we arrived both still smiling and happy.  It was a success. THANK GOD.

It was me that said I would need to get going as I was starving and needed to cook dinner, which was true and she said she needed to get home and do her own dinner which was handy.  We said our goodbyes in the car park and she said “Love You”.  I said it back and although I only half meant it, it didn’t feel like it was a total and utter disgusting lie like it mostly does.  It sounds bad but I almost said it because she had behaved well and I was rewarding her good behaviour, LOL. She told me to let her know when I fancied meeting up again and I said I would.  The only time I let myself down was in response to that, I found myself saying “I will do, next time we will go for a drink”. Which was a stupid thing to say because one of MY boundaries was that I don’t want to drink with her.

Why did I say it? Well, for two reasons.  1) I did actually fancy a drink in general and I admit I also fancied a drink with her having sat amongst people drinking bottles of wine for the last few hours and 2) I guess it was part of my people-pleasing routine.  Drinking is what she likes to do and so I suggested it.

Not the end of the world and I am reminding myself that just because I said it, doesn’t mean I have to do that when the time comes.

[Sorry I am continuing the rest of this at midday, so 4 hours after the first part.  I have now been to my spin class (and survived), popped to my friend’s to take her stuff back, took her to her little boy’s playschool and went to a garden centre AND to get a few bits of food for dinner tonight!]

So continuing from where I got to, yeah what I said was stupid but I doubt it’s the biggest problem ever that I said that but it does go to show how automatic these things are.

I admit that because it went well and I am not having to recover from yesterday I am almost keen to see her again which I hate myself for in a way because I have learnt my lesson over and over and over again and I know that just because it went well yesterday doesn’t mean it will go well next time.  I am trying hard to take it at face value, it went well and let it be just that.  That occasion went well.  It’s hard as it does open up that tiny part of me that thinks maybe it will all be okay after all and maybe we will really be able to see each other now and again and it be pleasant.

I have been wondering what was different about yesterday to the previous times and the only real difference was that it was just me and her, i.e. my sister wasn’t there with us.  I think that perhaps when me and my sister are there she finds our closeness threatening and I think perhaps she turns up already feeling defensive and angry and then it all goes downhill.  The three of us have never been able to get together and have a nice time, the whole triangle thing.  2 people always have to be against the other person. That hasn’t happened since I got back in touch after going no contact, but I guess me and my sister feel similarly about my mother and so there is a kind of imbalance in a way.

It could also be a hoovering tactic of course.  She could be being nice because it has been 6 weeks since we last saw each other and she is hoping that if she is nice I will see her sooner and more often (and she might be right) but there is always the possibility that next time could go very differently.  Next time once she has lured me in, she could be awful again and I would hate that.  That is the thing with her, you just never know where you are and nothing stays the same for very long.

If I did go for a drink with her she would almost certainly be really nice to me, for a while… and then the questions would come because her filter would fall away and she would ask me why I don’t ever see her and why I don’t want to see her husband and why things can’t go back to normal etc – I don’t want to have to have those discussions and yet I do quite fancy having a drink with her knowing she would be happy again – for the most part! It is a hard thing to work out actually.

Anyway, that’s me I think. I need to drink my tea, have a shower and do some ironing.

 

 

 

 

Last night’s session

Morning all,

I am back typing this on my laptop at my kitchen table with a cup of tea.  I like the homely feel I have this morning, even hearing the washing machine makes it feel nice and cosy and writing on the laptop is more enjoyable than trying to type out a blog on my phone.  I am also back from my mini break (as I wrote last  night) and have now seen T again so I am sure that helps with that feeling too.

So about last night’s session then.

I felt weird on the drive to T’s last night. I felt nervous about the session but also I didn’t feel confident driving there, it was and the roads were busy and I had only been home from our mini-break for about an hour before leaving and it all just felt a bit odd.  As I parked outside T’s house I felt sick. I recorded a voice memo on my phone just to speak the feelings out loud to play back today.  The voice note said:

“It’s 7.25pm, I am outside T’s house with 5 minutes to go before my session and I am feeling a little bit… nervous and anxious I suppose, not really sure why. I feel like this sometimes, more recently.  Erm…… yeah… I’m not really sure what is going on to be honest, it is very strange. Like I want to see her and when I leave later I will wish I could stay for longer and tomorrow I will wish that I could come back and yet here I am, outside my session that I look forward to all week and I just want to drive away. I don’t know why that is to be honest.  I’m not sure.  Anyway I’ve had some really good days on holiday with hubby’s parents and stuff so I was feeling in a really good mood. It sounds bad when you say it like that doesn’t it? Now I feel sick. HA!  It’s funny as well because I had a dream about T on Saturday night and in the dream I was sat outside her house crying and her house had scaffolding up at it and now I am outside her house and it’s just a bit strange. Also I am parked right outside her house which I don’t usually do and it feels kind of like I’m being a bit invasive or something because I can see”.

I recorded that and then went to the door and knocked on it. As always, T opened the door with a smile and said hello to me. I sat in my usual spot and she just kind of watched me as I sat down and looked at her.  That is still uncomfortable.  I don’t like that silence even though it must last literally seconds.  She asked how I was and I said I was okay and told her that I had just got back from my break and she was surprised.  I told her about the trip and she commented that I hadn’t told her I was going.  I told her that it was a very last-minute decision (which it was) and that I had ran out of time in my last session to tell her.

I told T that I had felt fine, good even, the few days after my last session despite how difficult it had been and T commented that I am “really doing some hard work at the moment”.  I agreed with her and thought to myself both last night, and now, that it is nice to have that acknowledged.  I think I do minimise it a bit as surely T’s hear much worse right? I still don’t really feel entitled to struggle with some of this therapy work and so hearing her say that was helpful.

I told her that Saturday and Sunday I felt down again and that I wasn’t really sure why and T said that it seems my body does that a lot at the weekend when I get a bit of space.  She said that regardless of being at work or not, I see T Tuesday evening and by the weekend, it’s like something has been held off for long enough and I am ready (and needing) to get back in to speak about it again.  I agreed and nodded that she was probably right.  I also decided to be brave here and so I told her what I have written about a few times recently, I said:

I have noticed and written a few times lately that when I see you on a Tuesday night, I leave feeling good and I feel really good the next day or so, like I feel happier and more confident – even more confident to drive to places that would usually scare me or whatever, I just feel happy and then… it’s like it fades off and it runs out and I feel down and rubbish again.

GULP.

I added

And then I want to come back, I am looking forward to my next session and willing it to hurry up but then it comes and I start to feel nervous and a bit sick! I don’t know why that is.

T was listening attentively and nodding.  She seemed to find this interesting and like it was new news (even if it wasn’t).  She said that this was why it would be helpful for me to still be coming twice a week because I could “hold something for longer” with two sessions. I spoke to her about the practical issues and told her that I would love to have two sessions again but that I just couldn’t afford to lose a day’s work each week and then pay the cost of the extra sessions. I told her I calculated it and it worked out about £650 per month and I just didn’t have that money right now.  She added that even 3 times a week would help me and she said it would get me “through it quicker”.  I had mixed feelings about that comment, 1) it would be nice to get through the shitty bits faster, naturally but also 2) that I didn’t want to stop seeing her quicker.  My anxious and insecure brain also flicked straight to the “she wants me gone quicker” place but I know that isn’t the case so I am ignoring that.

T said her usual phrase about how we will “put it out there, into the universe and wait and see“.  She says this sometimes I think its basically her take on, if it’s meant to be – it will be. Or something.  We moved on.

T said that it was good I was able to tell her these things and that it helps her.  She told me that I can “check she is there” between sessions if I needed to and I said I knew that but said “it’s not the same”.  I was surprised I had said that to be honest.  She agreed and said it wasn’t the same, but it might help.  I thought about telling her that actually when she emailed me back between sessions, I often found the smallest thing to read into and convinced myself that she hated me – but I thought better of it.  There is only so much honestly one can bring at a time lol!

T said that the issue is that I feel I am too much.  She said that I still feel I am too much by just “being alive and breathing!”.  I laughed even though she wasn’t trying to be funny and nodded in agreement. Yeah, I know…  She said that when I was a baby and a child, I WAS too much for my mother and how of course that is the message I’ve taken in my entire life.  She said “just taking up space in the world makes you feel as though you are too much”.  She said I wasn’t and I smiled.  I know that this is one of the reasons I don’t like to contact her between sessions, she is right. I don’t want to be “too much”.  Same for a lot of us in therapy I think.  Clearly it all comes down to abandonment fears doesn’t it? I don’t want to be “too much” and then she gets sick of me and leaves me – or shames me – or both.  I said

That good feeling, that happy feeling I have after my session for a day or a few days, is that how other people feel all the time??

She looked a bit unsure what I was asking so I added:

Like, my husband for example, does he feel that happy and content and confident 24 7? Is that really how huge this all is?

T said that it was all about attachment (so yes then) and that my husband had been able to form a secure attachment but that I had not because of my mother.  I knew that and so questioned, is that how huge the difference is between those of us who are insecurely and securely attached? Is it THAT huge?

She didn’t answer the question exactly but the answer was yes. I felt my throat tighten and tears sting my eyes as I vocalised this thought.  I swallowed them down though.

I told T that I would have thought, and hoped, that after 4 years of seeing her I would be able to make that good feeling last longer by now and she said that in the grand scheme of things, 4 years was nothing and not a long time at all! I knew what she meant by that of course but it doesn’t feel that way sometimes does it?

Conversation moved on and I told T that I had heard from my mother at the weekend and that I was seeing her Wednesday (today). She looked disappointed for me and I told her that my mother had text and asked when I was free and we had agreed on Wednesday afternoon.  I told T that she had suggested her house but that I didn’t know whether to go there or not when her husband could come home at any point and obviously I didn’t want to see him.  I said I had suggested a coffee shop and so that was how it was left.  I said the good thing was, it was a coffee shop so we shouldn’t have to be there too long and certainly not as long as that god awful meal last time and that she doesn’t really like going out for tea and coffee so I doubted it would last long.

I told T that I was nervous about her asking me “what was wrong” and why I don’t text, phone, see her hardly ever. I said that it would be the first time she has seen me on my own and that I thought she might jump on the opportunity.  T said just to keep things light, to say things like “life has changed” and “my life is so busy now” etc.  I agreed but said it is hard to say things like that when someone is pushing hard for a proper reason.  T advised me to slow my response down a bit, to take a sip of my drink if she asked a difficult question in order to give me time to digest the question and think about my response.  I found this helpful as I am always so quick to respond to everything, it is part of the fear and panic response I find myself having around her.

T said that there was nothing wrong with me saying “I don’t know actually” or “I am not sure about that at the moment” if I was stuck.  She said I didn’t HAVE to give her an answer for everything if I didn’t have the right words.  I hadn’t thought of that before.

T also said that I was perfectly entitled to say things like “I don’t find this interrogation helpful mum” or “I am sorry that I don’t have the answers you would like me to have“.  I so can’t imagine myself saying these sorts of phrases to her but I do agree that they are good! T reminded me that my mother is not this all powerful human being and that she does not have any power over me whatsoever now that I am an adult.  She said “She is a narcissist and narcissists are horrible, but she does not have any control or power over you now, try and remember that“.  That really helped. I even suggested if she kept quizzing me that I could say “Mum, THIS is why.  This right here – it is not enjoyable for me when you are like this!“.  T said absolutely I could.  She also said that my mother has not changed but that I had and that if she said “you have changed” I could say, “yes I have and I am sorry if that is hard for you but I am much happier like this“.  Ha!

I told T that I had a dream the other night where my mother confronted me and said that she felt I didn’t love her and that I rejected her and that I had responded by saying “it’s not nice is it? Now you know how I felt when I was a child but the difference is, I needed you then and you don’t need me as a 50 something year old adult” and that I had then walked away.  T asked how I felt in that dream and I said I felt good – empowered.  T said that is what I WANT to say and asked what stops me from saying that in real life.  I said I just didn’t want to argue with her and T said there doesn’t need to be any argument and that I could just simply say that, and leave! I laughed (although she wasn’t joking).  True I nodded.

To recap (for myself) the things I feel genuinely happy to say if necessary are:

  • I’ve just been so busy with work and the kids and my mini-break etc, life is just so busy these days.
  • Sorry you feel like that, it’s just how it is for me now.
  • Mum, can you please stop the interrogation? we are here now aren’t we?
  • This is why – you are never just happy to see me, there is always negativity or passive aggression.  It is not enjoyable.
  • I am sorry but I don’t want to sort things out with your husband. I am fine the way things are.

Note to self: I don’t have to respond immediately and I don’t have to have the answers.  I can say I will need to think about that or I will get back to you on that.  (Easier said than done I think).

If she genuinely does say that she feels I don’t love her anymore (which I doubt to be honest) I might say Mum, I told you about a hell of a lot of pain last October and you didn’t respond in a caring way to a single bit of it. It is very hard to see someone who doesn’t care about your pain. I am trying to find a way that we can still have contact with one another, but it never feels like it is good enough – I cannot do what you want me to do. I am sorry for that but this is all I can offer right now.

BLEUGH. Moving on.

Lastly I told T about the dream I had about her.  I told her there was 2 people like her, and two like me. She asked what I meant and I said “if you were a teacher and I was a student then two teachers and two students”.  We were all in this therapy room and you told me/us that you were going away for 3 weeks and I kicked off. I went mad and was crying and falling apart saying I wouldn’t be able to cope and the other person was calm and collected and said she would be fine.  I said the other woman said it would be okay and I was furious thinking “that’s easy for you to say!!” and that when I left, I got into my car and was crying and I noticed her house had scaffolding up at it which pissed me off even more as I thought “I’m falling apart and she’s off getting her fucking house renovated!!”.

We spoke this through in some detail and T thinks that the two women represented two sides of her, and then two sides of me.  The side which reacted saying she would be fine and was calm being the me I show T about breaks, and the other side who was furious and upset and falling apart.  That made sense.

She was interested in the scaffolding and spoke through a few different meanings to what that could represent.  I said to me scaffolding “supports” the building but that it was me that needed the scaffolding.  She asked what it was about the scaffolding that made me angry and I said it was seeing what she would be doing for the next few weeks and knowing that she was there but unavailable to me.  She said “so it was in your face and you couldn’t miss it” and I agreed.  She said “so you wasn’t protected from it“.  I told T I thought it was interesting because she was so sure I had denied anger about her going on that break and that the dream seemed to be playing that out for me.  I said it was strange that would come now though, now we’ve been back two weeks and T said it is very common to come once we are a bit more settled back in and feeing safer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back from the sea

Hello,

It’s 6.30pm which means it’s exactly an hour before my therapy apt begins. I’ve not long got home from our mini break with my husband and in-law’s, probably about half an hour or so. I’ve managed to unpack, put a load of washing on and have a cup of tea in that time. Hubby is napping on the sofa after a long drive home.

I’m aware of some kind of nervous feeling about therapy tonight. I don’t really know why.

Logically I suppose it makes sense that I would feel a bit nervous because last time I saw T was the session where I told her all that stuff which I have always been very ashamed off – and blocked a lot of it out. I felt good that session and felt as though she was understanding and non-judgemental. I felt good the following day also, but here I am, an hour before I see her again and I feel these butterflies in my stomach.

I’m also thinking that I feel good today and I felt good yesterday after feeling low Saturday and Sunday so I don’t want to trigger myself back to that feeling, equally I want to do some good therapy and not waste a session. That’s a tough balance right?

The things I want to talk to T about are….

The fact that I have heard from my mother and have agreed to see her tomorrow afternoon. I would like some advice on how to respond to any question about my lack of contact in case she asks, which I’ve felt coming for a long while now.

And I would like to speak to T about my shopping/spending money addiction problem but I feel a bit apprehensive about telling her this right on the back of last week’s admissions… I feel shame about this money stuff and I don’t know if I am ready to tell T the full extent of it. Part of me wants to tell myself I don’t need to tell T because I’m handling it on my own, that she won’t be able to help and that it’s not “that much of a big deal”. Classic sentences when speaking to someone about dealing with an addiction right? D’oh!

I imagine T will ask me how it felt telling her the things I did last week. Maybe she won’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised. My imagination has said that she would have digested the stories a bit more since last week and may have more of a reaction tonight, or more questions. I think asking how it felt telling her is a good opening for her to tell me her thoughts and I’m not sure I want to know… gah!

I dreamt of T on Sunday night, I dreamt that she was going away for a break and that I near enough fell apart in her office. I was angry and crying and falling apart but another client, who was also there, was composed and not bothered. In the dream T suggested I could have one session whilst she was on her break and as much as I obviously wanted that, it felt unfair for T and wrong for me to accept the offer so I said no thank you. When I left her office I cried a lot in my car and I looked at T’s house which had scaffolding up at it and was angry that I was falling apart and she was buggering off to have her house renovated. I thought my dream was interesting as T is recently back from a break and I did fall apart whilst she was gone. T is convinced that I am angry about her break and has been encouraging me to tap into that anger as she thinks it will help me to express it rather than block it or turn it onto myself – the dream seems to confirm that. The dream also came whilst I was away on my mini-break and not consciously thinking about T or her break, it made me wonder if another break is on the horizon that I don’t know about… that I’m about to find out about? But even I know that’s very unlikely.

I thought perhaps me dreaming of T is proof that I am in need of that good stuff that I get when I see her – that connection. I love the way I feel (mostly) when I leave and the following day or two… maybe dreaming is my way of bringing her to mind, although the dream wasn’t pleasant, so maybe not. Maybe the dream shows my anxious attachment – dreaming of her because I *need* her, but showing me how easily she could leave me. I don’t know, I’m just thinking out loud (so to speak).

It’s weird that I would feel nervous the way I do when I have 4 years of good memories after and during seeing her, you’d think my mind and body would make that link and I would just enjoy it. Which I do on one hand, which is how I get myself there every week. They say we relate to our T’s in the same way we relate to other people in our lives and so I wonder do I get nervous about seeing other people? I think I do in a way. I still get a bit nervous to see my Dad (I don’t know why). Not so much anyone else – apart from my mother but the nerves with her are because I am scared of her and dread the interactions, I am not scared of T or my dad. Maybe I am scared of how they could hurt me?

Anyway, it’s now ten to 7. I need to get ready to leave at 7 so I better go.

See you on the other side.

Feelings

Greetings from my favourite hotel!

I type this whilst I am sat at the hotel bar, sitting at a table overlooking the sea. It’s a beautiful day here, sunny and not too cold. Perfect autumnal weather. I’m having 5 minutes to myself as my in-laws are unpacking their clothes.

I woke up this morning with another headache. I had been dreaming (again) and the dreams were stressful. One part of the dream saw an old lady physically attaching me as I walked through a shopping centre, she was scratching and cutting my hands and fingers. Another part of the dream saw a cat who was viscous and scratching me one minute and then quite calm and sweet another. I remember saying “I can’t relax in my own home with the cat like that!”.

In another dream I had spent a lot of time and effort cooking lots of people breakfast and one person complained about all the things they didn’t like and then everyone left and I had to pay (not sure why I would be paying when I had cooked).

Anyway, as you can see, the dreams probably explain the headache that I woke up with and I woke feeling that horrible sense of “feeling down”. I hate that at the best of times, I hate that even more when we are holidaying at my favourite place and I hate it especially because I can’t shake the feeling that more and more days are feeling this way lately. I don’t remember when this sad, low feeling begun to happen so often. I don’t know why it’s becoming such a normal state of my being lately. I don’t like feeling this way – obviously.

I tried to shake it off but it wasn’t working. My husband and I walked to a lovely rooftop cafe for breakfast and I was lost in my thoughts whilst looking out at the beautiful sea view. I felt a little sad and like I could cry, but with no thoughts accompanying that mood. My husband looked at me and asked if I was okay, I said I was but he looked disappointed and I felt angry at myself for feeling this way when I should be at my happiest being away on holiday with him. It makes me feel broken but also guilty.

After breakfast we walked along the seafront and stopped and sat on the edge of the sand. Again I found myself lost in the sea and again he asked if I was okay. I told him I was and he said I was very quiet. I told him so was he but he said it was unusual for me to be quiet (very true I am a chatterbox).

Soon after his parents arrived and we’ve been with them since and walked for about an hour and a half before just coming back to the hotel. I actually feel much better than I did earlier but it’s hard to tell if that’s genuine or my happy self that I have to be in front of other people. Does anyone understand that?

It’s a hard feeling when you feel down or low or sad and you desperately WANT to feel happy. It’s not something I’ve really felt before. It makes me wonder why now? Why now that I have married the perfect man for me? Why now that I have a happy home? I feel ungrateful for feeling this way now I finally have (nearly) everything I’ve ever wanted – to feel happy, safe and loved.

Oh well, I guess we can’t help our feelings. I hope this doesn’t last too long because I worry my husband will begin to feel he’s not making me happy enough or that he will tire of my sad moods or my crying days. It must be hard for him, I know it would be hard for me if I were in his shoes.

Saturday

I’m writing this from the bath… not a sentence you see everyday is it? I’m in the bath and it’s 3pm on a Saturday, it feels like a strange time to be having a soak, particularly when I’ve already showered today, but I felt I needed to relax in the warm water (and also I need to wash my hair!).

This morning I got up early and went to a class at the gym called body balance. It’s a class that I’ve always enjoyed but that my current gym don’t offer and so I went to another local gym and used a free guest pass to try it out. I loved it, I love the yoga moves, I love that it is challenging but not enough that my inner critic kicks in and I love the music. I thought to myself during and after the class that I need it back in my life and I’m tempted to join this new gym just for that. It would also mean I could start body combat again which is a more aerobic class which is kind of boxing, kickboxing and karate themed – it’s great for working off angry energy!

After the zen of the gym I drove to town to take some clothes back (see yesterday’s post). That wasn’t as successful.

It just so happened that the first shop wouldn’t give me a refund for one of the things I brought because I need to go to an independent store rather than a department store which houses that brand. Annoying. I was sent up to the top level, back to the bottom, queued up and was then told no. Very annoying.

I then decided to drive to another place to try and return the item and it took me 40 minutes and resulted in a lot of anxiety on busy dual carriageways. I was feeling really stressed by then and actually found a few tears dripping down my face. I actually gave myself a talking to (out loud). They wouldn’t take it either. 😡

On the way there, I drove past a car crash which didn’t look too bad but on the way back, looked awful. 3 ambulances, police cars, firemen and the entire dual carriageway closed. I drove back in the opposite direction and felt sick and so sad for whoever was hurt and their family. I’ve since seen on google that it was a drug-driving lorry driver who caused the small car to crash into others and the barrier and someone was being cut out the car. Poor things.

I did manage to take some other clothes back however and so I have actually managed to get a refund in total today of £102. Just that last item to go which is worth £40. It’s silly because yesterday I had no intention of returning it but since I’ve realised my addiction to spending money and buying clothes I have admitted that I brought it last Sunday morning when I was feeling upset and angry about my sister and mother going out drinking. I was already aware of anger and sadness and now I’ve linked the two – thanks to websites about shopping and spending money addictions. It’s lost it’s magic since then and now I find myself desperate to get rid of it. Hence the mad driving around. Yet it remains in my car. Damnit.

I found my eyes wandering a lot in the shops I went in to return said clothes. So many things caught my eye walking through the department store particularly. House stuff, clothes, shoes, jewellery, suitcases – everything was there and it all looked so exciting and new and fresh! Now that I’m looking out for these symptoms and paying attention, there’s no denying it’s a real body reaction. My body is desperate for that feel good surge. It doesn’t seem to factor in the guilt and shame that would follow later if I did binge spend.

By the time I got home, midday, I was stressed and wound up and I had a thumping headache. Luckily hubby and the kids were doing some gardening so I had a quiet house to sit in and have a cup of tea. That didn’t last long however and soon everyone was in the lounge with me and there was all sorts of noise, one stepson playing something on his phone which was noisy, the tele noise, my stepdaughter playing with a slinky on the stairs and general conversation. My poor head felt like it was going to erupt.

I managed to deal with this for about an hour and a half and then hubby decided to take the kids out for a walk…. ahhhh lovely…. however since I’ve started to write this, they have all come home again. They were gone ten minutes. It’s now pissing it down outside. Me time, over.

I know I sound miserable and cruel. I’ve been out all morning so being around them shouldn’t be an issue and I do love them all, but god my head. Not their fault of course.

To add to the annoyance, hubby’s breaks are playing up and he’s told me we need to use my car to take the kids home and to drive to our mini-break tonight. He’s also said he will need to sell his car/scrap it and we will both have to use mine from now on. This caused such anger inside me (disproportionate) as I felt I was being told that was happening whereas I felt I should be asked, and a loss of freedom as I like to come and go as I please and this means I won’t be able to go out when my hubby needs to use my car to pick the kids up, take them anywhere and take them home again. Granted this is only the weekends but that’s the main time I use my car. I like my car as I often go out when I’m feeling agitated or need some space. I like to go to the gym or visit a friend or my dad for example. It sounds mean, but I like to be able to use it to get away from everyone and it feels that’s being removed from me without a second thought. I can appreciate that hubby doesn’t wish for his car to be playing up – and he doesn’t WANT to have to scrap or sell it when he can’t afford a replacement and so part of me feels uncaring for being so selfish in my feeling response… but that aside, it’s making me feel trapped and I don’t like it.

Perhaps I was one of those kids who couldn’t share? Perhaps it’s another side of my need to control everything around me? Perhaps I am just being a bitch?

Anyway, relaxing bath is now ruined due to the noise of everyone in the house and so I’m going to give up and get out. I’m going to try and be happy and not let on that I am feeling irritated and unnecessarily stressed. I should be excited! We’re driving to our favourite hotel after taking the kids home tonight – I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be!

I need to snap out of it. Come on Twink, be happy for Christ’s sake.

Tears & an uncovered addiction

Hey WP fam, I hope everyone is doing okay today. It’s Friday so the weekend is nearly here, wahooo!!

Today’s post is more of a diary entry than anything else, I have nothing hugely important or pressing to write about but I didn’t write yesterday and the children will be here in a few hours and then I will be a busy bee so I thought I would take the chance to sit quietly and write for a bit.

So yesterday morning I was hunting for something in my cupboard and decided to have a bit of a tidy up.  I pulled out all my therapy related books, mostly on narcissism and then I found an old notebook which I had used as a diary.  The first entry was August 2016 and it went up to January 2017. It was really interesting reading it back and something that struck me was that I was rather good at being a detective where my feelings were concerned.  I wonder if I still do that and just don’t notice, or whether that is something I’ve stopped doing as much? I felt I was much more insightful than I ever feel or felt!

One of the diary entries was written the day after I fell out with my (now ex) narcissistic friend.  It was quite a shock reading the account back and remembering some of the awful things she said. I was still proud of myself for the way I responded though, which is nice.  That happened in August 2016 and it is hard to believe me and her have not spoken since that night and that it has been 2 years.  I am so glad that night happened and so glad I managed to free myself from her. She was awful to me.  One thing that hit me was remembering how I used to go out drinking with her and the other ex-friend from work (also a narcissist – yah, I know right?!) and once they had finished picking on me, I would get on the train, drunk and head to my mother’s for some more abuse.  Christ on a bike, how did I do that?

I didn’t do much yesterday, I popped out to get some essentials and then I sat down and watched two films which is something I never do. I watched 4 weddings and a funeral (love Hugh Grant) and then I watched La La Land.  I know that film is pretty old now, but I had never seen it. I enjoyed it despite the pure cheesiness and ridiculousness of some of the dancing etc but I did buy in to the two main actors and their relationship and when the credits rolled… I absolutely sobbed my eyeballs out!  Do you ever do that? Like something is a bit sad, and a few tears wouldn’t be entirely unusual but you blub really bad and you know that somewhere deep down, those tears aren’t about the film (or whatever).  I hope that’s not just me!

When I first started therapy and T told me I was completely cut off from my feelings, I told her that I cried at everything. I cried at songs, adverts, films – you name it.. but she was right that I had cut off from my own feelings and she explained that most of the time when people cry at films or songs, it is because it gives us a bit of an excuse to allow some tears out.  With regards to La La Land (SPOILER ALERT), I couldn’t see why the couple not ending up together would hit a nerve for me, but as I type this it has crossed my mind that perhaps it’s more about how different their lives could have been – how it could have gone.  That does touch a nerve deep down I guess – I have written a few times, and only recently that my mother not being a loving, attuned and safe mother has had such an impact on me in so many ways that life could have been so different.  Maybe that is what brought on the floods of tears? Who knows. [It appears detective me is still at work after all].

Also yesterday work phoned me. I was nervous for the call but I shouldn’t have been.  The lady that called me, Laura, was absolutely amazing.  She confided in me that she suffers from depression and how she completely understood.  I had asked work if I could come back next Thursday, I had already had Monday and Tuesday booked off as annual leave, but asked to book one further day on Wednesday so that I could go back with just two days and ease myself back in gently.  Laura suggested I waited another week, suggested I went in just for Friday, suggested reduced hours – you name it.  I ended up sobbing on the phone (this was actually before La La Land floodgate).  It was a real relief to speak to someone who seemed to 1) genuinely get it and 2) genuinely care!! There was no corporate speak and no guilt-trips.  She explained to me that if I went back on Thursday that neither she, nor my line manager would be there and that she wanted me to have all the information before I made a decision. I asked if I could think about it and let her know which she agreed to.  What a breath of fresh air.

After much deliberation, speaking to my friend and my husband, stressing myself out, biting my husband’s head off and then nearly crying – I finally sent her a message to ask if I could come back next Friday so that I had at least one of them there for support – and she agreed immediately.  Anddddd relax.

My husband has today off of work with me and so we went to bed and didn’t need to set any alarms which is a luxury isn’t it? I woke up early this morning but went back to sleep and we got up about 9ish I think. A nice way to start the day.  We then went into town so that I could buy myself a jacket. I wanted a warm coat/jacket but not a really long, heavy one – just a waist length type.  The first shop we went to had quite a selection of what they call “autumn coats” – not sure why I didn’t know that was a thing? and I found two I liked, one was cream and one was dark green. I couldn’t decide between them… I tried both on about ten times, even putting one arm in each sleeve.  My husband, who by this stage was infuriated, suggested I cut one arm off of each of them and sewed them together.  He thinks he is hilarious.

I seriously couldn’t decide and so brought both.  There really is no need for me to have two of the same coat, just in different colours, it truly is ridiculous but I have noticed recently that I am EXTREMELLY indecisive.  In fact, I was telling this to a friend yesterday and told her sometimes I nearly cry over deciding something as simple as whether to order a pizza or a Chinese.  Why? What is wrong with me?  I tell myself that if I make the “wrong” decision, it really won’t have any bad consequence and so it really isn’t worth getting stressed over, but that doesn’t seem to help. The coat saga is just another example of this.

As we walked out of the shop, my husband was rolling his eyes and I was beaming a huge smile carrying my two new coats (lol), my husband said to me “You do realise you are just filling a void don’t you?“.  Inside I hated that he said that, that he saw that.. but outwardly I just laughed and held the two bags up and said “Meet my two new mummies!!“.  We both laughed but he laughed whilst shaking his head and saying, “Seriously though, you shop to make yourself feel better“.

To be fair, he is right. I’ve often thought this.  I DO shop to make myself feel better.  My response to him, as immature as it was, was this: “Well, there are worse ways I could make myself feel better. I could take loads of pills or get so drunk I fall into a gutter! I could get a gambling addiction or become a prostitute!“…  I was being silly and trying to joke it off but there was an element of truth to that, surely there are worse things to do than shop for clothes when feeling a bit sad? BUT I do have to admit that in all seriousness, shopping for me is clearly a “void filler” and it is technically an addiction just like alcohol etc isn’t it.  I’ve just Googled it and look what I’ve found:

Compulsive shopping seems to be associated with:

  • Emotional deprivation in childhood
  • Inability to tolerate negative feelings, pain, loneliness, boredom, depression, fear, anger
  • Need to fill an inner void – empty and longing inside
  • Excitement seeking
  • Approval seeking
  • Perfectionism
  • Genuinely impulsive and compulsive
  • Need to gain control

G.U.L.P.

In the words of my lovely husband, “shitting fuckbags“.  How can I deny any of that? It is literally there in black and white!

Hubby just walked in the kitchen as I typed that and I read him that snippet above.  He said “Well yes, it is obvious.  Ten days ago you told me that you had no money and today you’ve brought TWO coats”.  I told him yes, I know.. on my credit card.  He shook his head and said “See, madness!”.

I can see that I do spend money impulsively.  I find any excuse to buy things, even if it is just food shopping or household shopping.  Only this week I brought a suitcase, a new duvet, new pillows, my husband a pair of boots and myself a jumper.. oh and pyjamas and that is just from going to the supermarket!! Since I’ve been signed off, on top of those things, I have also had my hair done, my nails and eyebrows done, ordered a book from Amazon and a pair of jeans online.  I’ve also booked us an extra night at the hotel which was VERY expensive and I absolutely couldn’t afford it. The credit card has taken a real bashing and that was a “no cancellation” rate so I couldn’t cancel it if I wanted to (which I don’t).

Oh dear. Do you know what the worst part is? Guess who else has a shopping addiction (not that they would EVER admit to it)….. have you guessed yet? That’s right.. my mother. Aghh. Her shopping addiction is worse than mine (honestly), but I have to admit it, as much as it pains me to say it, we both have a shopping addiction.  Come to think of it, so does my sister.  What do we all have in common? Oh yes, an emotionally deprived childhood and a void to fill.

Oh deary, deary me. Shit.

Changing the subject away from my now revealed shopping addiction to dreams.  Last night I had some dreams and here is a tiny bit which has stayed with me today.  My mother was complaining to me that she felt I didn’t care about her anymore, didn’t love her, didn’t think about her etc.  My response was to tell her that now she knew how it felt and that the difference was, me feeling those things as a child and her feeling them as a 50 something year old woman was entirely different – and then walking off! HA!

I actually can’t think of anything else to write now I have read that so I think I will sign off here.  I actually need to go and pack my case and do some ironing as we are off for a few nights away with my in-laws tomorrow evening to my favourite place in the world, a gorgeous hotel on the seafront on the south coast of England where I shall now not buy anything… aghhhhh.

Twink x