Saturday, May 16, 2015

Healing is an inside out process

I thought I would give everyone an update.  It has been about a month since I last updated and according to my journal lots has happened.  Including my birthday (thanks for all the birthday love), our beautiful, amazing girls turned 10 (and got their ears pierced they are very happy about that - they told me this morning that they thought they would have to wait until they were 20 which is when Drew had told them they could get their ears pierced) and it has been Mother's Day for another year - I was surrounded by my kids and my rock Andrew which made it the perfect day.  

Rehab is happening a few times a week and it seems to be going well.  Well at least according to what I write in my journal.  There are lots of things we are working on - rebuilding the pathways to use my arm and leg again properly, working on planning and processing skills and lots of talk therapy.  Though I am finding all the unfamiliar things very difficult (which is pretty much everything) so my anxiety is pretty high at the moment. 

I'm not seeing the improvements but those around me are so that must mean they are happening albeit slowly.  Probably for me the hardest thing to live with is the total lack of memories from day to day and about the last 3-4 years.  So I live by journal writing and keeping diaries, of course this means that if I don't write it down it won't be remembered the next day.  I struggle when I see the kids and see how big they are and my puppies everyday they are new to me, so are our renovations.  I find this very hard, and please if you message me or call and I sound a little vague don't be offended I am still working on where things fit.  Equally if I smile and nod don't assume I know where you fit I just sometimes find it easier to be polite and pretend.  I am told that in time most things will come back but it is patience (something I've never been great with) and not worrying (this also doesn't come naturally) as the more I stress about not remembering the more my brain will keep me in shut down mode as the memories are  there but just hiding from stress so stressing will only keep those things hidden longer.  

We are surrounded by lots of love from family and friends in so many ways that we simply can't thank you all enough.  The meals, the phone calls, the birthday celebrations, the messages, visits, help with the children and everything else that I have forgotten to mention they are all invaluable and we truly appreciate everything more than you can know.  

Getting better is going to take me a long time it seems, but I guess it took me a while to get here so it stands to reason that it will take time to unpack everything and process the how's and why's to avoid it all happening again in the future.  Underlying everything for me has been long term untreated depression and anxiety, this went untreated for reasons unknown to me, but the most probable reason is that I simply was not in any sort of space to accept or deal with that I had depression, an illness, instead thinking that I could push my way through and it would go away.  I needed to accept that for me it is just how I am and it will be something I will need to learn to manage and live with in the same way someone lives with diabetes or MS.  No-one knows why some people get these things and other people don't, the hardest part is the acceptance.  

What I am slowly learning is that there is nothing more alone than feeling alone when you are surrounded by people and when I think back that is probably how I have felt for a good part of my adult life.  I have always for whatever reason, felt the need to have a purpose before I entered a room, I guess part of this is so that if no-one talked to me then it doesn't matter I have something to do so I am not standing alone.  I am way less secure in myself than I seem!  Anyway, what this means when you are not in a healthy place is that you don't turn to anyone because you don't want to burden them or you are just not confident in yourself enough to believe people care.  Of course, rationally and when I'm having moments of clarity I know this is just not true but sadly for me those moments of clarity & rationality have been rare over the last few years, hence the very deep dark hole I've found myself in.  

I don't share this to get pity, or for everyone to say don't be silly of course we would have been there you just needed to reach out, just remember reaching out is very hard work if you are no sure where to turn.  I share this so that people might be able to understand what it is like to be in a very dark, deep hole and not see a way out.  Depression is completely irrational and for me I could never quite in my head understand why I felt sad or just simply found no joy in even the most happiest of things.  I had more than I needed including a loving family and lots of friends so why wasn't that enough for me.  Unfortunately the answers are just not that simple, and will be part of a very long rd of discovery to avoid this happening again in the future. 

I have a card that I received early on in this journey it says:  
"Healing is an inside out process.
It begins in the heart with a glimmer of hope. 
The more we trust in it, 
the stronger it becomes until we are mended - 
body and soul."

All I can say to anyone who might be feeling alone, sad, depressed or any of those other feelings that come with self-doubt, you are more than likely not nearly as alone as you think you are reach out to someone and if you are honest with them they will be there for you.  They may not have the answers but they can help you find the help you need.  Most importantly regardless of what is happening in your life nothing is so bad that you can't find a solution and you are never truly alone.  

Take care. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

let's start at the beginning

Hi Everyone 

Well it has been a long nearly 3mths since I've posted on fb.  I would especially like to thank Andrew and my parents and our wider families for their incredible support, this journey is in many ways just beginning and I couldn't have gotten this far without that love and support. I would like to say thank you for the overwhelming support that our family has had, for every message, card, meal, flowers, ph call, visit, lift for the kids and so much more I can honestly say it has at times taken my breath away, I truly did not realise the support I had.   Thank you to anyone who has been a part of this there are far too many to tag but know that it may seem like a small gesture to you but it has meant more to us than you know. 

Things are really quite tough for me at the moment, I have what's called functional limb weakness which in my case is my left arm and leg which makes getting around and doing even the simple things difficult.  I currently use a walking stick to help me walk.  In addition to the physical I am having lots of difficulties with memory so if I don't reply or if you see me and I just smile and nod I'm not being rude I'm just working really hard to work out where you fit in my life.  Day to day I am living by writing in a journal at the end of the day and re-reading each morning.  This can be quite difficult as you can imagine, because not everything is always good news so re-living that every day can be hard work.  It is a little bit like living the 50 first dates movie only not nearly as glamorous.  I also find concentrating and focus very difficult and too many people or too much noise is overwhelming as is driving in cars.  So I am not really seeing anyone unless they visit me or unless I really have to go out, this is really very hard for me.  I am not driving for the foreseeable future and I am no longer working either.  

In old school terms this would be called a breakdown with a good dose of depression/anxiety.  Turns out everyone has a capacity level to cope with things (yeap even me - news to me too!) mine was a little while ago only I didn't recognise it so things spiralled to the point of my brain and body shutting down for me to get the help I need.  

My journey is a slow one but those around me assure me that I am improving even though I might not see those improvements.  I have a great rehab team around me plus the amazing support from all of you my family and friends.  I have good days and bad days hopefully with my rehab the good days will outnumber the bad days, but obviously it is going to be a long journey there is no quick fix or magic pill unfortunately just lots of hard work both physically and mentally and time, and if I do everything I need to and am patient I should get my movement and memories back.  

If I can just say one thing to everyone, we are not meant to do things alone, if you are doing it tough reach out to someone so you can get the help you need.  If someone asks how things are - be honest - no one can read your mind, so don't expect they will "work it out" because they might not.  I clearly had far more support than I realised and I am sure this is the case for us all don't try to put on the brave face and get through I can honestly say it is not worth it. Listen to your friends or family if they suggest you need help (I didn't) often they are far better placed to see that you need some help than you are.  

Thank you for everything (and getting to the end of this!) I am loving being home with my family and knowing that my friends are just a call or message away is pretty awesome too.