Down but not out

It came as quite a shock to realise that I hadn’t updated for 2 months. I cannot say that I was absent because I was having a marvellous time. Unfortunately the opposite is true. Life has been very hard lately. As a family we have suffered a bereavement, life threatening illnesses and struggles with disability. It has not been an easy road and my mood has suffered. I have taken time to think, to wallow somewhat and to adjust to our changing landscape but also to slow down and really absorb and appreciate what we have. I’m down but not out. Things will pick up and starting to write again is a step towards a return to normality.

Silhouette of a woman raising her arms against a sunset. I'm down but not outPhoto by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Grief

It didn’t occur to me until recently that grief can take many forms and there are different things we grieve for. At the moment we are grieving in the traditional sense for a lost relative and I think in a strange way this is the easiest emotion to understand.

Grief when someone is seriously ill is a whole new ballgame and something I had not encountered before now. It doesn’t make sense and that makes it harder to deal with. You find yourself grieving for events that you assumed would happen. How can we grieve for something that hasn’t happened? For memories we just assumed our children would make? I don’t think I am explaining it well and that’s why it’s so hard to deal with if you cannot even voice it.

I am also grieving for the loss of my mobility. It sounds selfish and self indulgent but I am angry at my body. I long to be pain free. This isn’t the life I thought I would have and I resent the cards that I have been dealt. I want to be that person who accepts their situation with grace but I am not there yet. It is a work in progress.

Down but not out

Everything seems so very different from when I started the year full of plans for the months ahead. It would be easy to allow this sad turn of events define how we progress throughout the rest of the year. But we cannot. There is so much joy in life. When you are grieving you have to look a bit harder to find it but rest assured that it is still there.

I have been spending a lot of time doing things for myself to improve my mood. Some have been more successful than others. Sitting in the garden and simply watching the birds has given me an unexpected boost. I am scared of birds so how this helps is anyone’s guess but it goes to show that sometimes we have to take a leap to find our happy place.

Best foot forward

This subheading really appeals to my dark sense of humour.  I am literally struggling to put one foot in front of the other at the moment. I won’t let it stop me though. I will just get there at my own pace. I am definitely the tortoise rather than the hare  but perhaps that is a good thing? I have time to examine my surroundings and to savour the good things in our life. I may not be as quick as I want to be but every step forward that I take is a triumph. I can say with certainty that I may be down but I am definitely not out.

 What do you do to lift your mood when you are feeling low?

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Silhouette of a woman raising her fist

 

Debs Random Writings
PoCoLo

Thank goodness for February!

I don’t know about you but I greeted the arrival of February with a massive sigh of relief. For some reason, this year January has seemed to last an eternity. I was silently praying for it to end. Thank goodness for February! It’s arrival has given us a positive sign that spring is on the horizon.

Daffodils in a jug on a sunny day. Thank goodness for February!

January blues

It’s no secret that I adore autumn. I usually enjoy winter too but this year it has been a hard slog. The whole month has just felt bleak. I know I am not alone in this. Social media has been awash with memes and statuses lamenting that the month seemed to be lasting for an entire year. Nobody has had a good word to say about January! Mine and Peanut’s birthdays were a rare bright spot to lighten the overall funk we were in. What went wrong?

 

The best laid plans…

I started the year with lots of plans. I has 3 new blog series’ planned and was feeling pretty positive. What I hadn’t planned on was the flu. We are unfortunate to live in a flu hotspot. It has been knocking us down like skittles. Poor Junior has suffered terribly and was admitted to hospital with complications. I just wanted to take his pain away and in a way I did. He kindly passed it back to me. I am seriously considering painting a big red plague cross on the front door to warn unsuspecting passers by.

 

Thank goodness for February!

Your arrival has lifted our spirits! Signs of spring are finally here. My tiny daffodils are starting to bloom. All positive signs that sunnier days are just around the corner. I still have to battle this never ending virus but it seems so much easier now. There is lots to catch up on and a major spring clean is underway but it seems more achievable at the moment. I have no idea what kind of witchcraft made January such a hard month to bear but it if finally over.

Thank goodness for February!

Reflections on 2017 and planning ahead

Happy new year sign surrounded by fir branchesPhoto by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Hello and a belated happy new year! I had been all set to start the new year with a bang. However, in my post Christmas haze I totally lost track of the days and really struggled to get back into a routine. My start to the year has definitely been more of a slow fizzle than an explosion of activity! Now that I’ve finally got a grip on what day it is I think it would be a good idea to share my reflections on 2017 and what we plan for 2018.

Reflections on 2017

2017 written in firework sparklersPhoto by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

The children achieved so much this year but are growing up way too fast! Hormones abound. I need a self-filling fridge to keep up with their appetites and a larger dining table is now a priority to accommodate the random friends who appear at all hours.

My hip problems continue and I have been passed from pillar to post looking for answers. It has taken over 2 years to be referred to a specialist, who I saw this week. The proposed surgery I need is risky and could potentially make me worse so I have big decisions ahead. This year I was also hospitalised twice with post hysterectomy complications and underwent genetic testing for the BRCA1 gene. It has not been a great year health wise.

A large portion of the year was spent unexpectedly removing a dangerous chimney breast and renovating our bathroom. The end result is stunning but it really wasn’t the project we wanted to be doing; plans to convert the loft had to be delayed due to this work. We also finished a few smaller projects. Renovations seems never ending!

Despite everything we did get out and about a lot this year, making good use of out NT membership. It has been lovely to visit new places and explore different surroundings. The highlights for us were Apple Day and visiting Powis Castle

Plans for 2018

2018 written in firework sparklersPhoto by NordWood Themes

To a certain extent it will be more of the same. More days out, more home renovations, more time spent exploring our hobbies. If it isn’t broke why fix it?

Middle age spread had sadly become a concern for me. I am unable to do much exercise so I need to change my diet instead. It’s so unfair that you have to eat less to simply stay the same weight as you age. I am also still struggling to find a personal style, or even indeed any style. With that in mind I hope to make more of my own clothes this year, at least then I can guarantee a good fit!

I want to spend more time as a whole on my hobbies. My book case is brimming with novels waiting to be opened. My sewing to-do list is ever expanding and my vegetable patch is standing barren, waiting for me to get into gear. I think sharing a monthly update on my craft projects and my gardening endeavors will help to make me accountable for my time and give me something positive to focus on.

I am aware I need to spend time on my mental health this year. Last year I struggled so much with my lack of mobility and ever increasing pain levels. Whilst not depressed, I was very low for a good portion of the time. I felt flat and had very little to say. I feel that the fog is lifting now but it is something I have to work on rather than waiting for things to change on their own.

The big event for the year will be my Mom’s wedding in early March. She is still battling ovarian cancer so this is a much needed chink of sunshine for us to look forward to. Hopefully the great British weather will either give us a wonderful snow filled day or one brimming with sunshine. Nothing in between will be acceptable!

Bring it on 2018!

So there it is. A few reflections on 2017 and a snippet of what we plan for 2018. I am sure that with a little positive thought and a lot of hard work we can make 2018 a wonderful year!

What are your plans for 2018?

 

Linking in with

Word of the Week – The Reading Residence

PoCoLo – Life at139a/Morgan’s Milieu

 

Ways the sunk cost fallacy can impact your life

I have spent the last few weeks thinking about my productivity and how I manage my day. I waste far too much time investing in habits that no longer benefit me. To improve my day to day life I am removing negative things and situations. In order to do this I’m examining how the sunk cost fallacy impacts my life and making the necessary changes.

What is the sunk cost fallacy?

It actually started off as an economic term. Your sunk cost is money, time or resources that you invest into a project that cannot be returned. The fallacy is that your sunk cost will have no bearing on any future decision. The fact is that your past financial and emotional investment will influence your future choices and the more you invest the harder it is to abandon something.

Don't fall for the sunk cost fallacy. It's ok to change direction

How does it apply to my life?

Maybe some examples from my life will make it clearer? Peanut joined Brownies last year. The cost of her uniform and her subs were my sunk cost. When she decided she wanted to leave the group I originally refused because I had invested time and money into it. The truth of the matter is that there was no point continuing simply because of past sunk costs. She is much happier now and trying out various alternative activities.

Another example is the dreaded Candy Crush game. I have spent over a year playing this darn game. I am on level 711. I’ve invested a great deal of time into this game. I’m sick of it now. It has become a drain on my time but it seemed crazy to give up when I have completed so many levels. The crunch came when I was up until 1am playing a game I no longer enjoy, just so I could beat other people’s scores. That way lies madness. I have deleted the app.

Ways the sunk cost fallacy can impact your life

The sunk cost fallacy can be applied to many diverse situations. Relationships, friendships, hobbies, work, exercise and so much more. Here are a few situations that apply to many people;

  • You stay in an unhappy relationship because you have already invested 5 years into making it work
  • Maintaining awkward friendships because you’ve known each other since school
  • You continue with a hobby that you no longer enjoy because you’ve bought all the equipment
  • You watch every episode of a tv series you don’t like anymore because you have watched it from beginning (I’m thinking about you The Walking Dead)
  • All you eat buffets – you don’t have to eat ALL of the food to get your monies worth
  • Continuing to read a book you aren’t enjoying because you paid for it
  • Going to the gym every day (despite a bad knee) because you’ve got annual membership

Change is good

If things no longer benefit you or make you happy it is ok to change. It doesn’t mean that you have wasted your previous investment. Time well spent is never wasted but that doesn’t mean you cannot change how you use your time in the future. I have started by making changes throughout my day. Maintaining routines because that’s what you’re used to doesn’t achieve anything in the long term. I’ve begun implementing a better system of time management and am already more productive.

Why keep doing the same thing because it’s easier than changing? The easy option is not necessarily the best option. Change is good. Change is refreshing. Don’t continue to invest in something that no longer works for you. Cut your losses. Move on and learn from the experience.

Please leave a comment about any sunk costs that impact your life?

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Ways the sunk cost fallacy can impact your life

 

 

Linking in with PoCoLo

A very mixed week

It has been a very mixed week. It started with the very best of intentions. I had a to-do list as long as my arm. However things haven’t gone to plan. My to-do list is still there, taunting me. I’m not sure why this has happened. Nothing terrible has occurred but somewhere along the line my get up and go has, well, got up and left the building. I think it is a combination of minor frustrations and not feeling at my best.

Hormones

What can I say except that Miss Bobbins has more hormones than are good for any one person at the moment. I have never seen someone go from happy to all out end of the world pessimism in such a short time before. I am trying to be patient. After all it should pass in another 6 years or so. My mom would call it divine retribution for my own teenage years. I say that I may well have had ‘changeable’ moods at that age but I was certainly never as messy, which brings me to my next bugbear…

Mess!

Oh my goodness, 3 of my children have totally been bypassed by the tidiness gene. If I pick up one more random sock, just left under the sofa, I may just explode. I am considering just gathering up all the things they leave lying around and confiscating them for a week. I’m sure they wouldn’t care about the missing socks but they would certainly be bothered by missing chargers or tablets. Maybe a short sharp shock would stir them into action?

Feeling feverish

I have a horrible feeling that I am brewing not just a cold but an all out a case of flu. My chest hurts and my body aches. I keep breaking out in sweat and I nearly fainted on the school run yesterday. Thank goodness for one of our lovely neighbours who came to my rescue. I’m grumpy because I cannot sleep at night so am tired throughout the day.

Parrot lily (alstroemeria)

The beauty of nature never fails to lift my spirits

Bright spots

Nothing is ever all bad. My excitement at the arrival of autumn has not diminished. Everyday I see more leaves on the floor and beautiful colours among those leaves that still cling to the trees. The kids never fail to come home with pockets brimming with acorns and conkers and the log burner has been seeing plenty of action this week.

We are planning some nice events for next month (how is it almost October already?) which include a weekend away for Halloween and other seasonal activities. It’s nice to have something to look forward to.

We had a big, but wonderful surprise when we were cutting a doorway into our new lounge. Under the laminate hallway flooring we discovered the original Victorian tiles. We jumped for joy! We can’t wait to rip the floor up and have our fingers crossed that the flooring is complete.

A very mixed week

It really has been a very mixed week. I’m sure if I wasn’t poorly the week would’ve been much more productive. I plan to rest over the weekend. The kids are excited because I have lost my voice, so they are anticipating a quiet weekend too! What was your week like?

Life lately {May 2017}

I noticed today that I have no updated the blog for a month. This was not intentional but it has been crazy around here and I have not had the head space or inclination to write any posts. So I thought I’d do a little catch up before I get back to business!

Technical problems

Firstly, computer and internet issues have been the bane of my life. A windows update knackered both mine and the Mr’s laptops. Thankfully we have a cousin who is a whiz with technology and he managed to rescue one laptop, which we are sharing, while we wait to see if the other is destined for the scrap yard in the sky.

BT and Open Reach are in a conspiracy to send me to an early grave. We are having terrible issues with our internet which they are unable to solve. It seems to be a case of right arm not knowing what the left is doing. They won’t be winning any awards for customer service, that’s for sure.

Health problems

Well. it’s certainly been a month of health problems. I have had 2 further incidences of bowel obstructions resulting in me collecting more points on my A&E frequent flier card. Not only that but I’ve tripped and twisted my knee. Thankfully I’m already on crutches so have cut to the chase on that one.

Mr M has won the award for most random health problem. He had to have a blood test but the lady doing it made a big mistake and inserted the needle into the tendon in his arm rather than the vein. He immediately fainted and stopped breathing. Thankfully he was already in hospital and suffered no long term effects.

Puppy problems

We have been having issues with our dog Teddy. With the best will in the world he is not the brightest spark in the box. We’ve had to have dog therapists work with him in the past because he was scared of doors. We’re working on some more of his irrational and pointless fears at the moment but it has all got a bit too much this month and I came really close to rehoming him. However, when it came down to the knuckle I couldn’t do it because despite everything, I adore the great big stupid lump of fluff.

Positive moments

It has been rather an overwhelming month in more ways than one. I’m getting stressed and anxious about constant hospital admissions and my lack of control over them. In an effort to regain a more positive mindset I have taken time out to pursue hobbies and regain some balance and perspective. I have spent hours ignoring the house work while I learn to crochet and have rediscovered my love of sewing and dressmaking. I have sat in the garden for half an hour with my camera in an effort to capture a bumble bee and worked on my vegetable patch.

Turns out they are very tricky to capture!

Taking time to myself has helped lift the rut I’m in. I’m not sure if this is classed as mindfulness or slow living but it has certainly helped. I guess we all have months like this now and again. Months where the problems seem to outweigh the solutions. They can leave us floundering if we’re not careful but there are always bright spots if you take the time to look for them. So, onwards and upwards. This month is going to be amazing!!

 

7 things not to say to the parent of a child with autism

When I started this blog I fully intended to steer away from parenting topics. However, today I read something that made me despair of the everyday ignorance surrounding autism and Aspergers syndrome. Over the years I have heard some naive, some misguided and some downright offensive comments about my son OJ, who has a diagnosis of Aspergers syndrome. So, I decided to direct my anger into something constructive and create a list of some of the things not to say to the parent of a child with autism.

 

7 Things not to say to the parent of a child with autism:

Did they have their jabs?

There is no proven link between autism and vaccinations. End of.

They’ll grow out of it

No they won’t. However they will grow out of the additional support and resources that are offered to children. Adult services are woefully underfunded. The moment OJ turned 18 non of the agencies that had assisted us could be seen for dust. Just because the support vanishes it doesn’t mean that the condition has vanished too.

What’s their special talent?

Let me guess, you’ve watched Rainman? A misplaced idea that people with autism all have an extraordinary skill or ability seems commonplace. Many don’t and those who do are not performing monkeys to be bought out for your entertainment. OJ is a normal teenager. He likes to play on the computer however he hack the Pentagon with his epic computer skills.

They look normal to me

What does normal look like? Many disabilities are hidden. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. You don’t look rude but you still opened your mouth and voiced this ludicrous opinion.

 They just need some discipline

You cannot naughty step the autism out of a toddler. You cannot ground a child until they make eye contact, or eat foods that make them physically sick. Sending a teenager upstairs to think about their actions will rarely elicit a light-bulb moment where they suddenly realise the error of their ways. However strict you are with your child it will not ‘cure them’ although you can teach your child coping strategies and ways to deal with sensory overload.

God only gives you what you can handle

Give me strength. Even as a Christian, this trite phrase gives me the rage. There is no celestial plot happening behind the scenes to see just how far God can push me. There is no divine being in the clouds deciding who to send children with additional challenges to. It’s all down to biology and dna.

My friend’s child is autistic and they aren’t like this

You have met one child and experienced the challenges they face. My child is different. Every child is different. Children with autism are not a homogeneous group, all facing the same challenges and difficulties. Autism is a spectrum and you can fall anywhere on that spectrum. You may experience similar difficulties or be polar opposites. It is still the same condition.

 

Autism is a lifelong condition. You are born with it, you don’t catch it and it cannot be cured. Please think before you speak but don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Communication is the key to education.

This list is only a snap shot of things that I have heard

What would you add to the list?

Disclaimer: I have not added the comment that prompted me to write this post because some things are just too diabolical to repeat.

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7 Things not to say to the parent of a child with autism