A little spark

Yesterday was the first day in six months when I felt… a bit normal. When my anxiety subsided so much that I actually remembered how it is not to worry. It’s a bit like being in the rain and getting drenched and then finally finding an open door and stepping in but still hearing the rain behind you – just a little on the edge.

I just try not to think “what if” – what if seizure happen again or what if the anxiety come back etc etc. I’ve done 6 days of Headspace meditation and I keep working on my behavioural experiments in CBT to stop the thought process causing anxiety. I’m also trying to do things I enjoy and yesterday was baking day πŸ™‚ Lemon buns and Polish fruit sponge with crumble on top. and today it’s sunny! πŸ™‚ so that’s also my positives for this weekend πŸ™‚

Positives

I was meant to write few positives each day. I have to say that the intolerance to uncertainty was such an eye opener…. I feel like walking on the edge… still so very very close to the precipice…. but holding on the edge standing. I don’t even allow myself to doubt it won’t work. I believe strongly it will work πŸ™‚ I have stopped my mind wandering towards old habits and imagining the seizures so many times. I have taken small steps and tried to do behavioural experiments and do what I’ve never done – act to situations different way and see if it works (basically increase my tolerance to uncertain situations rather then try to increase certainty by worrying). I have done Headspace 4 days in a row now πŸ˜‰ and my anxiety is lower. I don’t feel by any means comfortable in doing it, it’s not something I do automatically I have to watch and question my own thoughts all the time. But I do feel less anxious and today I even felt somehow happy πŸ™‚

Another positive and it’s a bit step is my husband relationship with my older daughter. So it’s quite obvious Graham has been going through a very difficult time in his life. I can’t even imagine how he felt, although I can see the physical symptoms of chemotherapy, how sick, weak, washout he was and how much trauma it’s been for his body to cause seizures (possibly the reason, but definitely not helping). He’s been very strong psychologically and emotionally. I’ve struggled mostly emotionally side which has been described in depth through here. But the girls struggled too. The little one picked up on the routine change. But the older one… had good and bad days. On some days she didn’t want to eat, couldn’t sleep, had nightmares, burst into tears randomly. She had mood swings, insecurity issues and she stopped sleeping alone. And most of all she didn’t want to stay with Graham on her own. I know how it hurt him. Today it’s the first time since 28th January they spent few hours on their own and they really really enjoyed it! πŸ™‚

I would normally say – I don’t know if it lasts… (see – again, trying to predict the worst scenario) but the new me won’t say that. It is now, now they are happy. And we don’t need any “what if’s”. Let not allow my mind to wander. But that’s the point, need to stop myself. I’m so tempted to imagine worse case scenarios all the time but I’m making a conscious effort not to do that and also trying to distract myself.

And speaking of distraction – another positive, our little hamster Mr Fuzzy (turned out to be HIM not HER) got some treats today and he really seemed to enjoy them πŸ™‚

Meet Fuzzy

As an impulse of a moment I decided to buy a hamster. She’s Russian dwarf hamster. I thought it would help my older daughter to adjust to the difficult situation we are in. She doesn’t like talking about her feelings so maybe if she had a “friend” it would help her. Also maybe life would be less scary. She really warmed up to the idea, thought about names, promised to clean the cage etc etc. Obviously when we finally got it, she cooled down a bit ha ha but hey. That’s life. I spent lots of time reading about taming hamsters… types of hamsters, food for hamsters. You can train your hamsters etc. I tried to approach it today and after giving her few days to get used to us and the new environment I used the chance of cleaning her cage to try and handle her. Nothing is as easy as it seems.

But maybe that’s part of my answers. Maybe in life nothing comes just like that and we need to put some effort into things to achieve success. I have to say the hamster didn’t bite me but she was nowhere near feeling comfortable or liked being handled. She was petrified. It will take a lot of time to become friends. And my excitement got a bit less. I was feeling fed up a bit. I think it’s a part of my character I’ve never before realised. I didn’t know I have problem facing troubles. I thought I was strong and facing difficulties with pride. The last six months was a very deep journey inside myself. It’s amazing how little we know ourselves.

Happiness

What’s happiness? Today it’s sunshine, new Pusheen cup and coffee, own grown strawberries and my cats πŸ™‚

Today is chemo number 6. It’s 3 more to go but we know now what is coming. How much we didn’t want to go it’s even difficult to imagine. I’m anticipating the worst. But maybe this time I am prepared? I can’t quite work out if I feel better and stronger or I am letting myself fall into the false sense of security….

It is good apparently to find at least one positive in a day and mine are listed above.

What this chemo brings we will see. Hopefully whatever it is I can cope better.

Baking

An achievement. I actually baked something and it was nice πŸ™‚ I can’t remember when I enjoyed my hobbies and when I felt like doing something and it wasn’t a chore. So here we go my Bakewell tart πŸ™‚

IMG_6196

Magnolias

Well, if it’s a blog about me it should also have things I like not only what I’m scared of. So cats and magnolias would be may favourites and it happens I have pictures of one of them πŸ™‚ I love magnolias πŸ˜€

Snow

It’s been snowing for a while now. I was meant to go to a shop yesterday but I wasn’t brave enough to drive. I dressed up in a coat, scarf, boots and went outside the back door. And came back! That’s how far I made it.

I did brave a little car journey today but it’s been snowing since. It’s interesting as I’m Polish and snow is no surprise to me. BUT I’ve never driven in snow! In fact I never drivenin Poland. I learnt how to drive in UK. And in Poland we are prepared. We moan that our Highway Maintenance services are never ready for snow – “Yet again winter has surprised them!” but…. they are really prepared. Roads are cleared and gritted, we have winter tyres and naturally born ability to drive in this conditions (except me, maybe that’s why I emigrated?).

So, schools are closed, we are stuck at home with children and drinking hot chocolate. We did a little walk as you must – otherwise my children won’t know what the snow actually is, a bit embarrassing if they are half Polish. It’s a day when your diet goes out of the window. Day to chase up some outstanding appointments and do an online Tesco shopping – even though they cancelled all their delivery slots anyway.

I have felt quite down recently. I keep thinking about writing about friends, but that deserves a separate post, as there is a lot to write about. But I don’t like feeling this way. So I decided ask for help. I tried few different things. I have had some counselling in the past, privately, but it’s expensive. Β£40 per session…… nah…. Not now, when our financial situation is so uncertain.

So… NHS it is. I work for NHS right? I tried work, Occupational Health – left a message…. called, left my details… two weeks ago. I chased them today and apparently there is a waiting list. I do appreciate that. I can understand how modern society is bringing people down etc…. but at least call me back and acknowledge you care…. I’m down!!! I tried GP, absolutely lovely lady. Understanding. Not a counsellor though but prescribed me antidepressants (on my own request – can you just knock me out, please?!). Sertraline…. never again. You need to give it time to work (how ironic is that!!????) it may take up to 6 weeks to work. I’m down NOW! but ok, let’s try. I took half a pill on Monday…. half on Tuesday. Felt no improvement and no change. I took one pill on Wednesday and again on Thursday…..

And that was it…. I lost it even more. I had a proper foggy brain, I couldn’t concentrate. Not in a good way though. Not in the spaced out way, like when you have gas and air during giving birth – that was awesome!! Give me that any time. No it was confused foggy brain, pessimistic one. Then I had even more panic attacks (I had them before taking the pill, but with the medicine I had several one after another) which led to suicidal thoughts. I had pounding heart and though race through my head, making me feel there was no escape from all of that, the only way out is….

I stopped taking them.

I self referred to two counselling groups. One number I got from GP – took me a week to get to speak to someone and yet again waiting list, 4-6 weeks and between Β£15 – Β£40 per hour.

The other group, Healthy Minds – I actually used once before. I got a very quick reply (telephone) and another one week later to discuss treatment options. One to one telephone appointments – waiting list is few months.  A group therapy (lectures, 15-30 people in the group) in May or… I can do self-help online with a support from a therapist straight away. Well… I went for the last option.

But if I was suicidal.. I know these aren’t emergency help services, I know. But I think I’d have enough time to think how to take my own life! You can shout for help but there is no answer. I felt left on my own. Yes, I have tried emailing Samaritans…… but the answer is very generic. I said I was worried life would never be the same and they answered you are right it won’t be the same….. give me a gun now! Really?? I don’t know, maybe their phone lines work better… I haven’t had courage to use them. But I’ve started this – maybe it will help. Maybe.