Musings and Snoozes

“I’m fine” and what it really means


Everything is relative, right? We’re all different and we all have different ideals, limits, boundaries. My hair, for instance, is quite boring at the moment as far as I’m concerned, but to others it’s still quirky and I still get told I’m daring and/or brave about a hundred times a day. It’s all relative depending on your idea of “normal”. (As an FYI, my hair is blonde and red atm). 

And so that brings me to “I’m fine”. I’ve had several conversations over the last few days about what is normal for me compared to other people. Jon, for one, is a great example of the difference in what we’ll put up with – more than ten minutes to get to sleep and/or a bad night and he’s quite possibly the pissiest man alive. I, on the other hand, haven’t had a restful night’s sleep since the doctor gave me emergency Tamazapan a couple of years ago because I actually didn’t sleep for more than an hour a night for three months. I’m used to it now – I don’t like it, and I am so very envious of those of you who go to sleep and feel rested in the morning (don’t ever take that for granted people), but it’s normal for me now and therefore providing I have had some sleep, I’m fine. 

Today is definitely an “I’m fine” sort of day. Ok, my pain is a little higher than I’d like, my wrist keeps dislocating, and I’m sleepy, but that’s ok. It’s all just stuff that’s normal for me, I’m used to it, I can manage it quite easily by taking care of myself and listening to my body, and therefore I am actually fine. It’s not a cry for help or a “my life is so hard compared to yours”, it’s just – to use my most hated American phrase – it is what it is. 

So if I say I’m fine, know that I likely am, and that while I don’t require anything out of the ordinary, gentle hugs and pats on the head go a long way. Coffee is also gratefully received. Obviously. 

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If I promise not to kill you, can I have a hug? 

So I’m pretty sure this is the worst case of PMT I’ve had for a long time. Possibly since I famously threw a steel boned corset at my poor mum in an angry rage. Or the time I cried because the freezer door wouldn’t shut properly. 

In the last 24 hours I have cried for no reason, I have gotten angry at the world, and I woke up with a horrific migraine. Pissy doesn’t even cover it. Between the physical pain of the migraine and the fact that I probably shouldn’t be around other humans right now, I decided to do us all a kindness and take the day off work. 

So I’ve slept. A lot. Until I woke up around 3pm in a slight panic that I had to make it to the hospital by 3.45. I made it, just and actually it went well – my consultant is pleased with me and doesn’t want to see me again for a year. 

So I have treated myself to some celebratory chicken nuggets (because obv), picked up my 300 prescriptions (including the pill, which I’m hoping will put a stop to all this PMT shit from next month), and also topped up the chocolate milk. Now I just need to try not to kill the world or burst into tears at any given moment, and I think we might be safe to go back to work in the morning.

All hugs and gentle pats on the head are gratefully received.  

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Sky high and sleepy

I am currently 37,000 feet in the air, on my way back from Sweden. I am absolutely shattered, I ache from head to toe, and I want nothing more than a scalding hot shower and to curl up in bed. Just another hour to go, a short taxi ride home, and then I’m done.

Despite the tiredness, it’s been a good couple of days. A nice mix of productive and fun – I’ve been away with one of my favourite colleagues who I always have a good natter and catch up with, and we got what we wanted from it, so I can at least go back to work on Monday with what I need. I got to catch up with some Swedish colleagues I rarely see as well, which is always a nice bonus. Oh and I’ve come back with the obligatory shit tonne of salted liquorice, so all is right with the world. 

I like the travel, I like getting out of the office and seeing people face to face, when normally we only ever talk via tcon. People underestimate what a difference it can make to actually get together for a day and share ideas. Even I have to confess to having a different view of a couple of people I normally only talk to by phone now. But it’s hard on me though, physically. Hanging around the airport, queuing to board the plane, carrying my laptop etc. I mostly make it work for me – I’m careful how much I bring, I made work give me a tiny, very lightweight laptop, I always leave plenty of time to be where I need – but somethings I just can’t control. Early starts, long meetings, late flights – they all add up by the end of the day, and by this point, I’m done for.

But I wouldn’t change it. The good outweighs the bad, and I’m mostly travelling with people who know about my lupus and all it’s quirks, so I don’t have to feel too pressured to put on a brave face. And I’m determined not to let it stop me doing everything I want, and I sure as hell won’t let it stop my career. All I ask is that there’s a bed and a hug at the end of it all. If I have that then I have enough to keep me kicking arse all over the world. 

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Last minute panic… Again! 

One day. One day I won’t leave everything to the last minute. It is 8pm, I have an application to submit, a passport to find, a suitcase to pack, and a meeting to prep for. What am I doing? I’m sat on the sofa watching Saturday’s episode of The Voice. 

I know I’m never going to change. I’ve been this way since I can remember – school, uni, work – and at nearly 30, I’m probably not going to magically become organised. But sometimes, just sometimes, I’d really like to be that girl that has everything under control, who knows where everything is, and who isn’t rushing round like a mad woman at the last minute. I’ve tried all sorts of things over the years – lists, plans, schedules, stern talking tos – but none of them quite seem to work. I don’t know whether it’s pure lack of willpower or if I’m genuinely hard wired to be like this. 

It does have it’s advantages though. I am pretty damn good under pressure, I can wing almost anything at the last minute, and for the most part “it’ll all be fine” has got me through every difficult situation I find myself in. And so that’s what I’ll focus on – one way or another I’ll be on that plane tomorrow, notes written, passport found, and application submitted. Probably. It’ll all be fine, right? 

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Life lessons from a pooch

I could learn a lot from the dog. I sat and watched her yesterday as she came back in with the dog walker, waited patiently for a treat (complete with cute paw in the air for added effect), ate said treat, and then proceeded to roll about on a tennis ball for ten minutes. Seriously, I have never seen anything or anyone look so content with life. 

And really, I should be pretty content right now. I had a fun few days off work, work itself has just turned a massive corner that I actually never thought would happen, and some of the things that have been bothering me or niggling at the back of my mind have pretty much fixed themselves.

So this is when I get pissed with my anxiety. I have pretty much zero things to be anxious about at the moment, and if you asked me to put any of it into words, I couldn’t. Yet I’m not sleeping well and when I do, I’m constantly clenching my teeth and jaw, which makes what limited sleep I do get, bloody painful. 

So I’m trying to consciously take note of the little pleasures each day – a funny moment with friends, a well timed text, the first sip of coffee in the morning. If I can piece together each of these little moments at the end of each day, then I’m hoping I can trick my brain into relaxing and believing everything is alright. 

Because god dammit, everything is alright. Everything is more than alright and I could do well to remember that when I’m tired and pissy. I got this. 

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Pain has my body, but it doesn’t have my soul 

I don’t often do this, but I’m going to write about exactly how bad my body feels. I try to keep this blog pretty positive, and no doubt I can find some humour somewhere along the way this evening, but I haven’t felt this bad in a long time and I think sometimes therapeutically, it’s good to get it out. 

Firstly, I had approximately 3 hours sleep last night. I was tired, but not sleepy,  when I went to bed, and so consequently I lay awake for a long time. Jon was remarkably awake too for a while, so at least I had someone to talk to (other than the dog), but when my alarm went off at 6am, my mind raced through every possible way I could call in sick. I didn’t, if for no other reason than I was getting my much anticipated new laptop today and I wasn’t missing that. 

So I did survive the working day. I was my usual ten minutes late due to not being able to move too quick this morning, but spending five hours or so curled up in the warmth of the IT office meant I made it through in one piece. 

I have however spent most of the day feeling sick. The nausea is one of my most hated symptoms, if only because I know perfectly well that I won’t actually be sick, I’ll just feel sick.  And it’s horrible. It makes my head swim, and then I lose my balance and all sense of depth perception. The amount of times I nearly fell over today was borderline comical. And tomorrow I have to stand in front of a room and give training for 6 hours. God help the trainees…..! 

By the time I got home, I was fit for nothing, and that’s when the pain kicked in. My back, hips, arms, shoulders – they’re all so incredibly achey. Every now and again I get a stabbing pain in my neck or I forget momentarily and lean my elbows on my legs, causing a yelp and inevitable bruising by morning. 

More than anything, I just feel broken. Physically very broken. My head and my mood are actually remarkably good, and I’m grateful – contrary to this little ramble, I’m actually considerably better at dealing with the physical pain than the mental side of things. But walking at snails pace and having to grab hold of things to keep me upright is not a lot of fun either. 

So I’ve done the sensible thing and come to bed. It’s only half 9 and I have a million things I needed to do tonight, but I know it’s not worth it. I said I’d start looking after me, and so I am. Painkillers, pyjamas, and a heated blanket, and with any luck I’ll be at least semi functioning by morning. 

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Trust the Magic

What a strange 24 hours it’s been. Final day of a very odd year at work, root canal this morning, all sorts going on in my friends’ lives, my period unexpectedly arriving, strange dreams last night, making new friends today. I almost feel as though the whole year can be summed up in these last 24 hours! At the end of it all though, I always come back to the same thing. Coffee. 

I’m sat in Starbucks, which is my favourite place to blog because everyone leaves you alone, supping very carefully on a coffee (did I mention root canal?), before picking up the pooch and heading to mum’s for a very quiet new year’s eve. 

And you know what? I feel quite good about that. At first I was scowly that any new year party plans would be scuppered by the aforementioned root canal, but actually I’m going to take it as a lesson and a way to carry on into 2017. Not with more root canal (I hope!), but with more quiet, more calm, and more looking after me. I’ve talked about it several times, but the last few weeks have taught me that I have little choice if I don’t want to burn out completely, and it’s time to start taking notice. 

I’m a great one for new beginnings and despite the fact that I celebrate Celtic new year in November, it’s impossible not to be caught up in the end of one year and the beginning of the next. I feel a rather large amount of hope, not full on “this is going to be my year”, although I of course hope it will be, but just a peace that things are good, that they’re falling into place, and that despite all the roller-coaster ups and downs, that I’m happy. 

My Dad showed up in my dreams last night. He only ever appears when I’m at my most…on edge, I guess. He’s never there to give me advice or anything – don’t have any illusions of him appearing to tell me great truths and prophecies – but he’s just there in the background. Once he was on a train waving at me, last night he stood by a gate smiling as I drove past. Always fleeting, but always just enough to remind me I’m ok and to wake up with a renewed sense of optimism. 

And so that’s how I feel about 2017, a renewed sense of optimism and of purpose. And if that means starting out curled under a blanket, quietly seeing in the new year, then that’s fine by me. 

Happy New Year everyone. I wish you all the love, happiness, peace, and fun in the world 🙂

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You can do anything, but not everything 

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been a bit rubbish at keeping in touch and seeing friends this year. I’ve struggled hard with balance, with looking after myself vs doing too much, with wanting to hide away a little. Plus the practicalities of being a smidge broke half the time. 
I want to fix it, to change this year, but I’m bright enough to know that I’m not suddenly going to recover and find boundless energy. If anything, with studying for my Masters, it’s going to get worse not bette, but I want to try and manage my time and my energy more wisely at least. 

So that’s part of my aim from now. And it does start now. I don’t want to say from new year, because that gives me too much leeway to screw it up in the next few days and start 2017 in a bad way, which is the worst thing I could do. 

And so with that in mind, I am currently resting in the spare room at Jon’s parents. I know I’ve hit the limit of my energy now and need to just lie down, let the fatigue do its worst for a bit, and rest my aching body. Doing this, instead of driving up to see friends tonight, was a good idea, and it means the time I will get to spend with them tomorrow will be so much more valuable after the rest. It’s a hard one for me to accept, and probably hard too for many of my friends who may feel like I’m putting them off or not making enough of an effort. 

But I know I have to focus on the positives and I also know that contrary to all my doubts and anxiety, my friends are my friends for a reason, and part of that is they care about me. So while I realistically know that I’m not going to get to do everything I want to or see everyone as much as I’d like, if I can make it work just a little bit better then the precious time I do have will be so much the better for it. 

And so that’s what I’m doing, starting now. A very Merry Boxing Day to you all, from a very restful pooch and I. 

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Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise 

And so Yule is finally here. The longest night has passed and finally, after what always seems like an eternity, we head towards the light again. And quite frankly, that’s pretty much how I feel about most things right now. 

Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with me will know how much I love Christmas time. I can’t put into words what it is, I think it’s that feeling of togetherness and shared celebration that I love, even if it’s just the collective ways in which we all moan about it sometimes! But this year I have to admit, even I’ve found it hard to be quite so excited, or at least as wrapped up in all things festive as I usually am (pardon the pun). However the day after Yule officially started, my first day off work for the holidays, and probably the first time in months I’ve even considered relaxing,  I am now finally starting to feel it. 

Today, I allowed myself to rest almost completely, not just physically (although I fully enjoyed staying curled up in bed until early afternoon), but mentally too. Every time guilt took over that I should be doing something, I gave myself a talking to that for one day at least, it didn’t matter. Consequently the house still looks like a bomb’s hit it, I am not miraculously a size 8 after going to the gym, nor have my presents magically wrapped themselves. But, I do feel ready to face the world again. 

So in a burst of “yeah, I can do this”, Jon and I tackled the supermarket for Christmas food shopping this evening. I was under strict instructions not to channel Dad’s spirit in buying enough food to last all year – a task I semi achieved, in that we only have enough to last us six months maybe. But what’s Christmas without too much food, right?! And I didn’t actually murder anyone who got in my way with their trolley, or stood in front of the exact thing I needed off the shelf. So kudos to me I think. 

And so now I feel that little bit closer to the big day. And a little bit more like things will be okay. It’s been one hell of a roller-coaster in the last few months, but I’m taking a break, and more importantly, giving myself a break. If you need me now, I’ll be in the corner, singing Christmas songs and welcoming the light back where it belongs.

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Sky above, Earth below, Peace within

OK, let’s just stop, and breathe. Just for five minutes. Tell myself it’ll all be OK, and that there’s an end to all this crazy stress and anxiety. 

I’ve been putting off blogging for a while, mostly because I’m so overwhelmed that I haven’t been able to manage much more than “gaaah” or “uggh” for a few days now, and they don’t make for the most interesting of posts, let’s be honest. But maybe if I try to empty my head a little, things won’t seem so bad. 

And actually, let’s get one thing straight here, things are not actually bad. Yes certain things are stressing me out -work, not feeling ready for Christmas,  study – but nothing is actually bad. I have incredibly amazing friends and family, work is only challenging because of certain relationships, not the work itself, and by the wonders of Amazon Prime and the joys of the Internet, Christmas will be more than fine and everyone will get a present. 

So I need to cut myself some slack, be kind to myself, accept that most healthy people are bloody shattered at this time of year, doing all this while being ill is actually quite an achievement in itself, and I should be proud of what I manage to do, given certain limitations. 

I spend so long making sure that no one sees how ill I am, that I can forget myself, and I probably need to acknowledge it a little more. I reached breaking point at work this week and it wasn’t until I put into words how I felt and had someone actually say to me “Laura, you’re incredible” that I took a step back and realised that if other people can acknowledge it then so should I. Of course reaching that realisation meant I burst into tears but hey, even that’s therapeutic sometimes.

So here I am again at another year end, and I have a lot of changes to make come January . Priorities need to change and I probably need to acknowledge myself as one of those priorities. But equally I’ve come a long way in the last 12 months and I should remember that. Just because the last few weeks have been hard, it doesn’t negate all the amazing ways in which I’ve achieved the rest of the year. 

And so that’s what I’m going to go focus on. Five minutes peace to sit and reflect on this year and how far I’ve come. I deserve it.

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