The Phoenix

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Recently I publicly humiliated myself. It was a rather unceremonious unravelling of my sanity. Wine fuelled, my very inappropriate behaviour was a climax to a couple of weeks of free falling into the depths. Unable to grasp at the sides, or cling onto a thread, I reached for the wine and hoped for the best.

Very far from being one of my finest moments.

But we have to count our blessings, see the positives and move forward.

I have put a stop to wine time, which hasn’t been that hard because I’ve now given myself permission to” not be coping”. I’ve stopped trying to be “fine”. I’m really not fine at the moment and that is ok.

In the desperate moments of regret and sadness, I’ve had this week, I’ve allowed the feelings of pain to flow and I’ve survived them.

I’ve survived because there have been others there to hold me, share the weight of my sorrow and nurse my fragility.

The blessings I’ve found are these people. From the ashes of this wreck, a light has grown in me. I have felt the warmth and love of my family and true friends.

Together they have revived my spirit, lifted my chin, nudged a smile and eventually made me laugh. They have made me realise the importance and the lack of importance of my folly.

So where as last Friday, the day of my doom, I was wading through a quagmire of loneliness and despair but pretending I was floating on air. This Friday I sit still, here in the moment, experiencing my being. What I feel is loved and blessed.

An Oasis – #Memorybox

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The last week or two have stretched liked a desert of glum, uninspiring defeatism . I’ve felt very annoyed at my return to a less than upwardly positive state but then all things considered it’s not really a surprise.

First ,a less than good week for Tink at school, he struggled to settle after the internal exclusion and my worries for his future years in education have been plaguing my thoughts, again.

Then there was the late night, no scrap that, all night Kindle playing from Stig, made all more catastrophic with a quick history check. Porn, yes porn, it nearly had my eyes out ,but realistically I was left feeling bereft for my sons innocence and racked with guilt that I had not protected him from these images. For about 24 hours I truly felt heart broken.

And then Mr H, struggling through work and home life with the weight of a dark, conspiring, unkind world on his shoulders. The depth of his despair has also been heart breaking and we’ve (family) had to take action. Hopefully we are about to start making things better for him, he so deserves a happier heart.

So really it’s not a surprise my head has been finding it hard to hold on to the optimism which had blossomed.  However in this relentless desert I found an oasis, a little corner of creativity that reminded me of me. It  was the wonder which is Well Dressing. I wont tell you lots about it, I’ve done that before, however, I will say that it saved me last week. Amongst friends, creating beautiful designs depicting the life and works of Shakespeare (this years theme) from petals, leaves and all sorts of natural paraphernalia. I loved  every moment it, and this year I brought along my mum, and she loved it too. So enjoy the finished works of our great community.

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I’ve linked this post to #Memorybox

Memory Box

 

Freedom

freedomFreedom is something I dream of, something that seems beyond attainment at the moment, just out of reach. Freedom looks like a beautiful oil slicked bubble, sun kissed and floating wistfully on the breeze. Bejewelled in the glint of the summer sun, I wish to be that beautiful and care free bubble.

I struggle with the freedom thing, there is a clue within the word FREE… dom.  I think I’ve always been one that likes things a little their own way, from youthful years. I didn’t always conform in opinions and appearance as a teenager, I didn’t mind being different. Being an individual releases you from the shackles of peer pressure, you are free.

In my twenties, house music and Manchester club land was my freedom. Part of something new and exciting I relished the hedonistic lifestyle that came with this musical revolution. Dancing the night away would still seem like the ultimate expression of freedom for me.

Later our relationship had freedom, Mr H and I enjoyed drunken nights and lazy Sundays, joys that encompass a child free lifestyle.

Work, a job brings a responsibility but beyond the structure of your vocation time is yours, there is still freedom.

Being a parent offers little freedom. Being the parent of children living with early life trauma offers me no freedom. I’m faced daily, hourly with the responsibility of my children. All waking hours I feel the responsibility of my children and it anchors me to this spot.  There is no drifting in abandonment, no blissful carefree moments. Not at the moment.

I know it’s a problem. I can’t let go.

I can’t forget.

They do not have to be with me, they can be absent for 24 hours or more but I can’t forget.  I am tethered securely to each off them.  I want to be tethered to them. I don’t trust anyone else with them.

They don’t keep me here, I could have opportunities to be free, but right now I’m too afraid.

The free spirit within feels stifled and unable to breath but I’m too afraid to allow myself to be free.

What if I don’t want to come back?

 

Slipping

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Things are slipping; I can feel the earth beneath my feet crumbling and as a vile taste of nausea has become lodged in the back of my throat, my balance is being rocked. A heady dizziness stifles my thoughts and I’m not entirely sure what to do or how to behave. I’ve lost my footing and my clouded judgement has left me wavering on the edge.  It has crept upon us again, this difficult patch, stealth like, different aspects of our life have been gently pushing us toward the edge of the slippery slope.

 As Mr H and I put more distance between our recent NHS sessions of CBT therapy, the void of no one to speak to, to guide us, has seen us tripping back into old habits. Try as we may, the weight of negativity is pushing down on those fledgling strategies that can manipulate our minds. I’d say we both needed more time, someone there made a big difference to us, but the NHS say we’ve had our lot. For now anyway.

The resentment is on both sides. I for his work, the ability to turn off and re-focus, even walk away to a business event, a night away in other people’s company. For him, his need for support in the work place and emotional arena is met with an unwavering priority for the children. The reality is a man down on his knees with the financial responsibility of this family and a mother unsure how much more she can take.  We need each other but constantly repel each other.

The children have reached new phases of difficulty, not separately but at the same time. Tink has finally decided that school is not for him and ramped up the challenging behaviour whilst there. Stig is moody and defiant again; a child who seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders but is unprepared/ able to share. Both are spoiling for a fight with everyone and anyone, making it hard for me to look people in the eye during the school run. Real or not I imagine parents staring and thinking/saying there’s the mother who can’t control, doesn’t discipline her unruly children, and worse.

I feel the need to remove myself from society and real life, as I immerse myself into the world where I know I’m understood, twitter friends, fellow adopters. It’s my own take on things, I know it’s not the reality, but my children’s trauma has created a trauma in me. Like them I have a skewed perception of reality and have created my own coping strategies. I’m removing the vulnerable factors in my life.

Sleep comes in short bursts which satisfies extreme fatigue, but what then follows is restless tossing and turning of a body tense to the core. Awake I’m going over and over the conversations, what I should have done what I shouldn’t have done, on a relentless loop. Eventually there is sobbing in the dark.  The tiredness obviously acts as a catalyst to the ill considered parenting approach and does not aid therapeutic mum.

But wait a moment, there is a light. As I teeter on that edge, strength at my core pulls me upright again. It’s unfortunately not endless yoga and palates creating this strength, but a chemical numbing of the depressive state. Breathless anxiety has been replaced by a desensitisation that only anti-depressants can deliver. Thank god. I can take a breath, think logically.

Logically, it’s only a couple of weeks ago when things were going well, we can reclaim that.

I feel the gently tap of friendship on my shoulder, the reminder that there are those who can help.

My mum, my shining beacon of none wavering, being there.

Friends that offer escape and kindness, not knowing the full extent of what goes on is often a bonus when escapism is needed.

Each other, we’ve come through rocky times before, we will move through this patch too.

The warm embraces that my children bring to me, arms stretched wide, they seek my love. For that I am eternally grateful and it still deepens my love for them, daily.

I know that we just have to get through this week. Mr H and I have allocated some time to regroup next week. He has to deliver this final event for some time and I just need to keep my head down on the front line of parenting. Survival is the game for now but not the long term plan. Tomorrow, next week things will improve again.

A Year On

A Year OnTo reflect on the last year, with all its grit and grime, is an extremely hard ask for me. I’ve taken a look back at the blog, one year ago, and discovered it’s a year since my boiler broke and we endured three days without heat or hot water. A painful experience that I don’t really want to contemplate again and that’s just it, most of last year I don’t want to have to contemplate again. I honestly feel that 2013 was the hardest year I’ve lived in all my 41 years on this planet. I’ve never been overly superstitious but I am eternally grateful that I won’t live to endure another year with the number 13 in it. And yet, strangely, I personally, did achieve some amazing things in that year.

I ran the London Marathon and raised a large sum of money for the charity TACT.

I started The Weekly Adoption Shout Out with Vicki from The Boys Behaviour.

I started the website The Adoption Social with Vicki, providing support for adopters, adoptees and others working in or touched by adoption.

I produced a youth play for my local amateur dramatics group.

I became a trustee for The Open Nest Charity.

I made some incredible new friends from the land of Adoption and even got to meet some of them when The Adoption Social and The Open Nest exhibited at The Adoption UK Annual Conference.

Yet I measure my year by none of these achievements, I instead reflect on the emotional rollercoaster that the year was for my family. Allowing my mind to even wander near the edge of those deepest and darkest of downward facing times frightens me. My muscles tighten, my throat constricts, and a sickness is rising from within, from the depths of my core a wave of tears is swelling. So, now I’m taking a deep breath……….I’ve found composure and I have stepped away from the precipice. I’m going to stick with my resolution, to live in the here and now and allow only hope for the future.

What I can say, is that to have survived the year can only have made each of us stronger. We are now taking tiny steps towards firmer and more certain ground and I’m sure amongst these pastures of increasing confidence and blossoming optimism, our growth will become more evident. The children are already showing signs of progress, relinquishing 2013 seem to have made a huge difference for them.

Stig has been managing and regulating his anger in a far more positive way. A contentedness, which he lacked for much of that fated year, has returned and glows softly within him. He is growing up, and I think he is coming to terms with it. Maturity can be a difficult attribute to steer at first but he is taking control and beginning to benefit from, even enjoy, the fruits that it brings.

Tink remains a boy of two extremes. Beyond his cool, astute and steely stare is a soft and squidgy little bundle, which requires the tender nurturing of an infant. The softness at his centre is well protected and few are privileged enough to benefit from its tenderness. I however am being allowed increased access to his vulnerability, as he allows me to assist him, asks for my help and even voices his concerns and fears. As always it is all very much on his terms, or so he believes, I’ve also become increasingly clever at letting him think he’s in charge.

My relationship with Mr H has near enough weathered what has been some exceptionally treacherous storms. We cling to our life together by our fingernails alone, but sheer determination that we will not be beaten by a bad stretch, keeps us holding on. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I know we can get through, but damage has been done and healing may take time. We know however that it is worth the endeavour, as at our core the embers of the love we have for each other still radiate warmth.

For me the last year seemed an endless battle with my old adversary, depression. I struggle to recall any long periods when lightness was in my step and cheer was in my heart. I feel much of my time I was weighted by worries and anxieties for those around me and strained by the intensity of living with those filled with worries and anxieties. I have started taking steps to lift myself from beneath the heaviness and I am learning new ways of keeping my old friend at a distance.

So today I prefer to look at the year ahead and hold hope in my heart for the future. In this vein I will say that a year on we are now on an upper ward turn and I am optimistic we are leaving the darkness behind.