Uncategorized

The Struggle is Real

fshbtyThis is a hard one for me to post about. I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer, but feel like it’s important to be real about things, so this is me being real. I’m not looking for any sympathy, just sharing my journey.

I’ve been doing it pretty hard for a few years now, lots of ups and downs and me coming up with reasons why it’s all totally normally and acceptable.

You see, my life is busy! I home school three energetic kids, each with their own special needs, I write, I edit, I keep everyone fed and clothed. I also have bipolar 2, and anxiety. Of course I’m tired. It’s totally normal, to be expected even. Right?

Right.

But it hit the point where I had to admit that I wasn’t okay. I ran out of excuses and I had to do something about it. And that something was to go and see a Dr, take a bazillion tests, and get a diagnosis.

Turns out I have Fibromyalgia (possibly with a side of Chronic Fatigue, I’m waiting on a specialist appointment). The symptoms I’m living with are not new (have in fact been around for years), however it’s been a bit of an adjustment getting my head around this diagnosis and realizing that it’s not just a thing that I’m going to get over if I go to bed earlier or do more yoga.

People often say things along the line of ‘I don’t know how you do it all’, and I am often thinking, ‘I don’t either’. Hell, I don’t think I DO ‘do it all’, at least, not in the way I would like. Not in the way I believe I should be capable of. It’s kind of just enough in all areas to keep things ticking over, but if one thing is getting more attention, then another thing is sliding until I’ve got the energy to drag it back up to where it needs to be. It’s a constant juggling act where I have to make decisions about what I can manage on any given day.

Now I know why. I have a legitimate reason for all the aches and pains, for my constant fatigue. For always juggling. I’m not a ‘flake’, I’m just not super well.

And it sucks. It really sucks. No one wants a chronic health issue. Sure, it could be worse. I could be dying. But it’s still pretty crappy. I was hoping for a magic pill that would ease everything, but it’s just not that simple.

What it does mean is that I need to change my expectations of myself. I’m not going to get back to the level of energy and output I had just like that. There is no quick fix. I need to try different things to see what works for me, and most importantly, go a little easier on myself. Or a lot, depending on who you ask 😉

I feel like these past few years have seen me constantly pulling back on my expectations. And while I fully understand why that’s important – now more than ever – I feel so much resistance to it. I want so badly to be doing all the things. It’s why those things are in my life! And I’m sure as hell not going to let illness get in the way of me achieving my dreams. Though I might need to modify some of my desired timelines for said dreams.

Three weeks ago I started taking antidepressants which are meant to help with Fibro. It’s also meant to be pretty good for bipolar 2 and anxiety, so maybe this will be a magic pill after all, just not the one pill and done kind. My pain levels have decreased a bit, but I’m still in that ‘wait and see’ zone – these things take time. I’ve never been a very patient person when it comes to myself, but I think maybe I’m finally learning that lesson.

And while I wait and try out new things to help my health, I’ll keep writing and making the most of the energy I do have. If I’ve learned anything these past weeks it’s that regardless of whether you’re unwell or not, you need to make good choices about what you spend your time on. Life is short, energy is limited, and we live in a crazy busy world. Surround yourself with awesome people who lift you up and make time for the things you love – read those books, watch that movie, play that game, hug the people you love, laugh lots.

That’s what I’ll be doing.

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April, change, Uncategorized

Long time no post…

Hey! So, it’s April! The season is changing – nights getting cooler, mornings as well. I love it 🙂 Things have been ticking along here, and I have been focusing on finding some kind of balance, and adjusting back to ‘normal’.

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Home School camp

As some of you might know, I’ve been dropping doses of my anti-depressants for a bit now, and am finally off them! YAY! It’s been a little over a week, and I think the side effects (the really bad ones) are starting to abate. Well, I hope so. Being that it can take quite some time to fully readjust, and the last time I did this I was in my late teens and no doubt just went cold turkey, I have nothing to compare it to. If I have learned nothing else from all this, it’s that everyone is different.

And I am different to how I was a year ago. In that time I have done a lot of learning. While the medication I was on might not have been the best one for me, and while it ultimately began to make things worse rather than better, I still think it was worthwhile. It gave me the space I needed to think things through, it meant that when I was feeling better I could work on some of the stuff I needed to, and when I was coming off them, allowed me to see that actually, anxiety is the real problem, and depression a side effect of long-term anxiety.

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Early morning walk, sans kids

Am I still anxious? I think I’m anxious about anxiety – worried that now that I am off them I might slide back into the black hole, that things might start to build up on me again. And I’m okay with that. I don’t feel anxious about everything all the time, and that’s good. I’ve been able to develop some strategies for keeping myself balanced, and while that is hard, it is so worthwhile (I’ll post more on that another time!)

More importantly, I feel creative again. It’s a huge relief to find my way into some writing, to have the drive once more to revise stuff, and want to put it out there. It seems counter-intuitive in some regards to think that while I was medicated – not wallowing in misery, not constantly anxious, or always on a rollercoaster of intense highs and lows – I found creating so hard and lacked any motivation.

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More bush walking!

I’m pleased to be free of that. I feel like I can soar again. Like I can handle what life throws at me, while also tapping into a full range of emotions. I feel more hopeful than I have in a long time, and I don’t feel depressed! I’m making positive changes, and I know that every day is a blessing.

life, writing

Time Out

time-outThe last few weeks have been pretty tough in some ways – I’ve had time to do writing things, but not the energy or the creative drive. It’s a strange place to find myself in after all the (writing) hustle and bustle of the last few months, and while I truly wish I was writing/editing/etc. I’m just not, not really.

At first I thought it was down to lacking a plan. So I made a plan. A really good one.

And then I thought maybe it was impending study that was stressing me out. So I got new highlighters, did some forward reading and got my desk all in place so that I could have a place to keep all my stuff handy.

Neither of these thing was the real issue, though they have been in the past. This time it was more personal, something dearer to me than even writing.

One of my daughters.

I don’t really blog about the family that much here, but some of you will know that she has ADHD along with some other as yet unnamed/undetermined things. Well, actually, her psychologist has called her baffling, and pretty much said she could fit under any number of labels, multiple labels.

We’ve recently decided to give medication another go and I am really struggling with this. I hated going to the Doctors to get the referral, I cried when I got the call from her psychologist. I cried during our meeting (it was just him and I, don’t worry! lol I have no desire to stress my daughter out – which is probably part of the struggle. I have all these feelings, and I have to keep them locked down while she’s around, and because we home school she is always around). I had managed to pull myself together before we saw the psychiatrist, and then steeled myself to give her the first dose.

It’s been an interesting time, watching the changes in her – and I am watching all the time. Wondering if her changes in mood are due to medication, or just her nature. Trying to decipher what is her personality, and what is part of her ADHD. And to be honest, I’ve been really surprised by what is being altered by the meds. Totally not what I expected (but good, if short lived). We’re still working on trying to find the right dosage, but we can already see that something longer acting is in order, and that will be my first call on Monday morning.

I’m kind of tapped out. It’s a little exhausting being hyper aware of what’s happening with my daughter, especially when it changes so often. I only want the best for her, which is why we’re giving this another shot, and she’s a willing participant which goes some way to ease my worries. I keep reminding myself that eventually we’ll have everything sorted (well as much as it can be), but there is no set date at which that will happen, it’s just a hazy point in the future and I wish there was a little more certainty around it all.

And so, I am not writing. In fact, I pretty much took the day off life and played computer games, because sometimes, that’s just what you’ve gotta do.