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First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

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Life. Both wonderful and bloody frustrating. Some days you want to last forever, others can’t end soon enough. I am at a point in life where I need an outlet for all these one sided conversations that go on in my head. That’s where this blog malarkey comes in. There will be ranting. There will be raving. There will likely be no actual structure or rhyme or reason for most of it, BUT that’s just how it goes in this mind of mine. Please don’t expect this to be fancy. I’m not very good at fancy. Don’t expect it to be a place for reasoned arguments, hormones and lack of sleep don’t care about reasoning! Let’s see what happens….

Acceptance

It’s a funny word. For some people it means calmness and peace. I have felt recently that it is a slightly depressing word.

When I was having counselling we discussed that maybe I would need to accept the situation I was in and that it would help me move forward.

After I lost my little dog I did a lot of googling about dealing with loss and grief. Acceptance is also part of the documented grieving process. I think of it as giving up, moving on, shutting off feelings. I know that this is not how either the counsellor or the people who write about dealing with loss meant it.

I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post for a while. I even started one the other day about social media and how it affects people, but I couldn’t organise my thoughts to read as anything coherent. This is a bit of a theme with me recently. Not being able to focus or finish anything. This frustrates me no end. I hate things being half done. Sometimes this means I just don’t start anything because that’s easier to deal with.

Do I need to accept how things are? Or do I need to change them?

I guess I will have to wait and see.

Loss

Almost a week since I lost the light of my life – my little old dog. I’ve been down, very down. Then things seems to get a little easier and boom it hits again. I miss him so much. He was such a calm, kind, funny little dog. Literally everyone that met him loved him.

When I lost my old dog Angus I had sworn to never get another dog. Losing them was so hard. Then I started volunteering to dog walk at Munlochy Animal Aid. One day, after I’d been helping out for a couple of months, I went in to the kennels one morning to see this scruffy little grey and white dog cowering in a kennel. I pretty much knew then I’d have to take him home. He was so quiet and calm and trusting. Never pulled on the lead, answered to his name and was already house trained. The perfect little dog. Oh sure he had his own little quirks – don’t we all? His was chewing fabric when he was nervous or stressed. Also he absolutely loved eating tissues or paper towels! To begin with he was very nervous of the car but although he never loved it like some dogs, he got used to it because it almost always meant he was going a walk somewhere good.

For the past 8 years he has been my constant companion, my friend, my comfort. I hope I was the same for him. He was so scared of loud bangs, fireworks terrified him and if you grabbed his collar he hit the ground like he expected to be beaten. This broke my heart every time it happened. I had no idea what had happened to him before he came to me.

A couple of years ago he had an attack of vestibular disease, which was terrifying at the time, but to see his recovery was amazing. He bounced right back. He was a little wobbly on his back legs and he had a slight head tilt although most of the time you would never notice. Then last year he developed some lumps on his back legs which turned out to be cancerous but, after he had these removed as best the vet could, again he bounced right back. He was incredibly resilient and brave. My little dog was the only reason I was getting out of bed earlier this year for quite some time. Caring for him was what kept me going more than anything else. Even though through all my emotional upheaval he wasn’t well either, I like to think we kept each other going.

A couple of months ago I thought I had lost him when he suffered from an extremely acute case of pancreatitis and didn’t eat for almost a week and spent all that time in the vets. The nurses and vets were amazing with him and didn’t give up on him. Again he seemed to turn a corner and fought his way back to come home. He noticeably slowed down and struggled to walk some days, other days was his old self. Throughout it all he never gave up being a brave little soul.

A couple of weeks ago he started to drip wee a lot again. I assumed it was another infection but he seemed uncomfortable and didn’t sleep or eat much except for biscuits or chicken. When a course of antibiotics didn’t seem to be working I took him in to the vet for more blood tests and examinations. If I had known that was the last time I’d see him I would have hugged and kissed him so hard, but I didn’t know, so I tried to seem cheerful and told him I’d see him in a wee while. A few short hours later he was gone. A light went out. He had a massive tumour growing in his abdomen that couldn’t be removed. I couldn’t let him suffer any more, much as it broke my heart.

I go over and over all the things I did wrong or could have done better for him. Could I have done anything sooner that would have saved him, kept him with me longer. Of course you can’t change the past but I wish I could. I wish I could have given him so much more. I miss him so much but part of me is relieved that he isn’t in pain and trying to keep going for me. He was the most cheerful, brave little dog and I think he made me a better person.

I’ve had so many lovely messages and gestures of support from friends and colleagues this week. Each one of them has brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate every one of them. I can’t really talk about it yet to tell them how much they all mean but I hope they know.

I know it will take a long time to get over my loss but while I’m grieving I apologise if I seem rude or distant. I will get back to being a grumpy miserable cow soon, I’m sure.

Sleep well my brave little dog, Jock pop.

Wanted – people management courses

It is always a source of wonder to me how people get jobs as managers and supervisors with absolutely no people management skills. Since I don’t like people that much I would never dream of applying for such a job because I know I don’t have those skills. It takes a special kind of skill to totally ignore someone’s mental wellbeing because it doesn’t suit you. Especially when it has been repeatedly pointed out to you. A very special kind of skill that. To have someone in tears and ignore that fact is something even me with my heart of stone would find hard to do.

I am almost at a loss for words, although I can see that tomorrow is going to be another very difficult day for me mentally after this, again. Oh how I love spending my days off feeling like I’m at the bottom of a very dark hole with slippery sides and no way of getting out. How I would dearly love to be able to walk away from this job. Any big lottery winners out there looking for a worthy cause, please apply below.

Update

I usually have an answer for everything but there comes a time, like today when it doesn’t feel worth the effort. When you just know there is no point arguing with the party line. When you feel so exhausted that crawling into a darkened room and staying there seems like the only escape. When shutting down and withdrawing feels like the only option. That was how today ended.

Then this

After such an emotional day yesterday, today I felt so low and drained of energy that even getting dressed was an enormous effort. On days like this it’s hard to be interested in anything or motivated to do anything. But I did make it through the day and having a soak in the bath this tune came on my random playlist. Without fail it lifts my mood and makes me want to dance – yes even in the bath! So I felt the need to share. Enjoy 🙂

Ignoring the signs

I haven’t been spouting on here for a while, so sorry if you have been waiting with baited breath for more of my outpourings.

Since my first big rant about my job there have been lots of changes. Very few for the good. I spent almost 6 weeks off work trying to get myself to a place where I could interact with people without bursting into tears. Coming back to work on a phased return, everyone made the right noises and having time to sit and speak to others who were in a similar headspace to me was good. However, even though the job may now be a minute fraction of what it used to be, we, the staff, are still treated with the same disdain.

I have had counselling, try to practice mindfulness and other CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) exercises. Some days it feels like they help, but then some days, like today when I’m being forced to do something I’m not comfortable with, nothing helps. I burst into tears at the drop of a hat and can’t focus or concentrate. Nevermind that I still don’t feel 100% well, that I have said I don’t feel able to do the task being placed upon me, that it is Mental Health Awareness week and we are being reminded constantly through fake concern by email and press releases. My colleagues all express their concern for my wellbeing but management….well the job needs done and we’ve told you to do it….

I always used to think of myself as being strong and excellent at putting on a brave front by being incredibly grumpy but I struggle with this “weak” me who can’t stop crying. I hate showing my vulnerabilities to people – any people – so doing it at work is magnified by 1000. At this point it looks like I need to make a return visit to the doctor and ask for further time off. I don’t want to have to do it but I also don’t feel like I have a choice. I need to make myself my priority and stop feeling guilty about letting people down because I know that those who matter will understand.

Should it be this hard?

No, not a line from a bad porn movie, but a question about getting back to good mental health.

I have only had 2 sessions of counselling but at the end of the second I was set some homework. I haven’t done homework for over 12 years. That was before the Easter weekend. Until today I still hadn’t started it. I have tried every type of avoidance that I knew was possible and some that I didn’t. All day today I’ve been getting myself more and more worked up about not having done it. It has almost got to the point that I’m more worried about going to counselling tomorrow that I was for my first session.

I’m not sure that getting myself in this state is very helpful. I have discovered that my concentration span is still very poor. I feel exhausted quite quickly and tired all the time. I worry that I’m trying to do too much and I worry that I’m not doing enough.

So my question stands. Should it be this hard?

Back in the homeland

So having been getting back to work slowly seemed like a good thing. I say seemed as it was lovely to be back and see folk and chat in a relatively relaxed atmosphere. Only relatively because although there was absolutely nothing to do, the others were already getting restless. That restless feeling is infectious, and quickly turns to discontent.

So for something to do I’ve volunteered to help out at my old office for the week. This has involved lots of packing and driving til I arrived home to chaos at my parents house. They are redecorating the living room so the place resembles a building site!

The highlight of our journey up the road was a wee stop in Helmsdale for some chips and chicken nuggets….turns out enough to feed a family of 4 for a week though!

Safely ensconced with a cuppa and chocolate hobnobs I already miss my bed…