As the year is coming to an end I thought it would be good to take a look at the highs and lows of the year, hoping to see more highs than lows!
It is actually quite difficult to remember back to this time last year, even though I was gradually getting better, life from then is still a bit of a haze. I think things were going ok, I was seeing my CPN weekly, and my medication was settling down. I was however off the alcohol, something that has definitely changed now, as I allow myself a glass of two of an evening.
Closure of my Business
My First big event of the year was the closure of my on-line toy and gift shop, I had hoped that once I was a SAHM then I would be able to make a go of the business and see money coming in to help with the income of money. Unfortunately I was not well enough to pursue this, and myself and NJ agreed that we had to close the site down as we were spending more than we were making, I think it was also adding to my anxiety, stress and depression. I was upset and very down at this point, I felt a failure, a waste of space and angry that I was unable to do something, that from the outside seemed simple. I think though at the same time I felt some relief, I no longer had to try to make sales, I didn’t have to converse with sales people on the phone about the company, I could simply tell them that the store was now closed, I actually think that this was when I started to answer the phone, and not leave it to ring.
The middle of February I became officially unemployed, my maternity leave had come to an end, which meant that I would no longer be receiving an income. I felt deflated and useless, which considering I had wanted to be a SAHM, was a strange reaction. I hit breaking point again, I felt broken. The business had closed and then I was unemployed.
This is something I still struggle with, I have always worked, from age 13 I had a paper round, and then various other jobs, shop work, bar work and during the summer I worked in a factory, I have always made my own money, even though as a married couple our money has always been in a joint account. Things are tight now (like the rest of the country!) and I often feel guilty, although NJ tells me not to worry and we will cope. He is also of the opinion that at the moment I am really not in the right place to try to get a job, and unfortunately I have to agree. I just hope that in the not too distant future I will find myself in the right place and be able to think about what I want to do and start working towards that.
Starting a Blog
With the closure of the business and the departure from paid employment I felt I needed something else, I needed something to think about and do, and so my Mrs Shorties Mind was born, I put myself out there in the www and to begin with I was just me all alone, and then I began to link up via different places and then I got a few followers. My blog was and still is a place to speak openly about what has and is happening to me and hopefully help others that may be going through the same thing, I also now wish to raise awareness of PND, this was a high point for me.
Going to Toddlers
Having lived in my village for 5 years, it was only this year that I found the courage (and support of friends) to finally go to a toddler group. I wrote about it here, not only did I manage to go to the toddler group, but I am now a member of the committee and I feel very much part of the group. It is definitely one of my highs of this year.
I made 2 very good friends this year, I was already friendly with HR, but it was more of a good natter to and from school, but with going to Toddlers my friendship with HR grew but I also made friends with ZC and since then the 3 of us have helped each other with our battle with depression and also been on nights out and had some fun.
The first half of the year had many ups and downs, I wrote about my struggles on my blog, so won’t go into them again, but I think some of my struggles were regarding the looming anniversary of TJ’s birth, I didn’t know how I would be, how I would cope. I was also still feeling down a lot of the time, crying still and generally just not coping. My CPN had mad a referral to a psychiatrist, but it seemed to be taking a while for the appointment to come through.
The appointment came through for 3 days before TJ’s 1st birthday, so I was never sure if the anxiety about it was for the appointment or for the looming birth anniversary. The psychiatrist upped my medication, and informed me that I would be on the medication for at least another 18 months, I was upset as even though I knew I wasn’t better I suppose I had hopped deep down that he would say all was ok and I could reduce my medication. 7 months on from that appointment and I now realise it was the best thing to do, I am feeling a lot better and able to deal with life slightly better.
During this month I wrote about wishing I could go back in time, Time Machine Anyone?, I was also unsure whether I should be celebrating TJ’s birthday or not. TJ’s birthday came and went, and I recorded the event here.
That’s the first half of the year, which I think was possibly the most taxing emotionally, but I did manage to get through the year from May 2010 to 2011 which I now know I should be celebrating, but unfortunately I still feel a tinge of regret that I have put the family through everything that I have.
The second half of the year starts with my birthday, and to be honest, I can’t remember that much from it!
I did however go to see Take That shortly after, which was great, although not as good as when I saw them at the MEN back in 2007! The lead up to the even was awash with anxiety and thoughts of pulling out and making up some reason not to go, but I did go, and although the anxiety got me before the doors opened, once we were in, it was great. I went with NJ, NL (my sister) and HB (best friend) and apart from some drunken ladies behind us we all enjoyed it.
This summer we went on our first family camping holiday, something I had been trying to persuade NJ to do for several years, and finally he had given in. It was a good holiday, everyone enjoyed themselves and we are looking forward to going again next summer. Unfortunately for me I just ‘enjoyed’ it, I know I had a good time, but I seemed to have lost the ability to be excited and super happy. I am glad though that everyone enjoyed the holiday, and hope that next year I can feel more of the excitement about it.
NJ hit the big 40 this summer and we were fortunate enough to be able to have my family look after the 3 terrors whilst we went to a luxury hotel and enjoyed some ‘us’ time. We had a great 1st day, ending with a 5* meal (slightly scary to start with!) NJ really enjoyed himself and I look forward to being able to do the same in a few years time when we have saved enough funds!
Unfortunately I was stupid enough to forget to take my medication that morning and did not have any with me, I was tired during the day, but the following day I was very ill, I was having major withdrawal symptoms and felt awful all day, which kind of spoilt things, but it was a lesson learnt and now I have spare tablets in my handbag just in case.
FJ Starting School
September saw FJ starting school, I’m not sure who was more nervous, me or him! He settled in really well and is doing great at the moment, I guess that is something else to celebrate. Although his behaviour at school is pretty good (did have a small incident with hitting someone!) his behaviour at home is still quite difficult, I just need to learn how to rein him in.
FJ 5th Birthday Party
As we had allowed AJ to have a big party for her 5th birthday, it was only right that FJ had one too, I didn’t think it would be too difficult. We had a church hall and entertainer booked, we just needed to do the food and party bags. How wrong could I be, the party bags seemed to take over my life, we didn’t want to spend much, but also didn’t want the plastic rubbish that they usually ended up with. The theme of the party was a pyjama party, so in the end we came up with the idea of a book, flannel, soap and some chocolate. The book, soap and chocolate was easy to sort, but trying to find fun flannels seemed to keep me occupied for weeks! It was sorted in the end, and with help from some great friends (and NJ) the party went well and FJ seemed to enjoy himself.
Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation
I found out about the Joanne Bingley Memorial Foundation through attending a talk by Elaine Hanzak-Gott, the foundation aims to raise awarness of PND and ensure that there is enough help and support for those suffering with it. I am hoping in the New Year to become more involved with the foundation to help others that are struggling with this horrible illness.
After being refered to psychological services it was suggested that I attend a 12 week course which helps you learn how to deal with various emotions connected with depression / anxiety. I agreed to go, but was very unsure after the first session, however I am pleased to say that I stuck with it and have finished the first 6 weeks. I have met new people all with their own problems and we are helping each other with our own ideas of how to deal with different situations. I am looking forward to going back to the course next week and seeing what new things we will talk about.
At the end of November we went to Center Parcs with NJ’s parents, something we have done the past 2 years to enjoy the Winter Wonderland. The lead up to this had me stressed, trying to plan who was taking what food, thankfully NJ dealt with most of this and I just had to pack the clothes. We did actually have a really good time, the kids enjoyed the pool and me and NJ had some time to ourselves whilst his parents baby-sat. The Saturday afternoon was my favourite time, we had hired a beach hut, which was heated and had a TV, we actually didn’t spend much time there and spent most of it with the kids in the pool. I was with TJ most of the time and it was great to see her enjoying herself as she went down the little slide in as many different ways as she could.
I always try to visit my family just before Christmas to exchange birthday and Christmas gifts. I have 4 nephews, 3 with a birthday in December and 1 at the beginning of January so I like to get the birthday presents to them before Christmas happens. The lead up to this was stressful as I had to get all the presents bought and wrapped. We did manage it though, and everyone seems pleased with what they have got. I enjoyed seeing my mum, dad, sisters, niece & nephews even though it seems a tad loud at times (8 children from 1 – 8.5).
So Christmas came, the presents were opened and the food was eaten, the day was not too stressful, but I would like to do things differently next year if its possible. NJ and I didn’t seem to stop all day sorting food, clearing up and then traveling to relatives. Next year I would like to be able to just stay at home all day and enjoy a slower pace of life for just one day.
My mental state over the second half of the year I didn’t think had been too bad, but looking back over my blog I have realised that there have been a few hard points, and although I haven’t blogged much in the last couple of months I know that things have been fairly difficult for me. However they have not been as hard to come out of the bad times as in the past, so I will see that as a positive.
On a high note, I have been told by a couple of people now that I seem much better than I have in the past, and seem much happier. I really hope this is the case and that I can finally start to get my life back on track and look to the future.
So what has your 2011 been like?