Happy Birthday To Me

I want to be happy and just enjoy today.  I don’t think I’ll be able to, not completely.

I haven’t been at work since 2nd March, which in 2017 marked 5 years since ‘The Dog Attack‘.  I broke down on that day, unable to work, unable to focus.  The anniversary was one more thing, and my mental health took a swan dive.

Since then, I’ve been seeing my doctor every couple of weeks, working towards getting myself back on track.  It feels like I take two steps forward, and then another one back.  Every time over the last few weeks I feel like I’m starting to feel ‘on the mend’, something happens that triggers a downward spiral again…

  • I reversed the car into a building.  It needed repair, I couldn’t drive around with the level of damage down.  Cue sh*t tons of mental self injury.
  • When I went to visit my Grandad, the risk of my parents  turning up at the same time presented itself.  Cue massive anxiety spike (anyone who understands my relationship with and anxiety around my father will understand why this was a problem).
  • And then, two days ago, my mother went into hospital with a burst ulcer.  Instead of simply worrying about a woman that, granted, I haven’t spoken to for three years, but still deep down care about…no, instead, my head had to deal with the fact that Daddy Dearest didn’t want me to know about it.  About my mother.  Being in hospital.  Gosh he is the most childish, immature man I have ever had the displeasure of knowing.  And this man was the one I spent my formative years trying to please.  Trying to gain approval from.  Cue guilt about obsessing over this, instead of just worrying for my mother.

I saw my doctor yesterday, and burst into tears.  Told her all this.  Told her how last week, I was telling people that this week, I was going to talk to her and my boss about going back to work.  I felt positive, I felt on track to be ready.  Now?  I’m not back at square one, that would be a false statement.  I am not the complete quivering mess I was on 2nd March.  But I’m still not good.

The doctor signed me off for another 2 weeks.  Cue MORE guilt because I’m going away this weekend.  I told the doctor about the fact myself, Michael and Megan are going to Eastercon, and I was told I absolutely had to go.  It will do me the world of good the doctor said.  Stop the emotional brain from engaging, help the logical brain take a foothold again.

Before yesterday, I had changed anti depressant, from Sertraline to Citalopram.  The dosage was increased yesterday to see if that will help as well.

She was also very clear to stop being so harsh on myself.  I kept saying that I feel like I’m ruining my life.  I do feel that way…this is my second spell off work now and I am so worried about returning.  What everyone will say, how they will act around me.  Of course, this is anxiety doing what anxiety does.  I’m sure people just want me to get better.  I can’t help myself sometimes…I’m a natural born worrier and when I do things like I’ll be doing this weekend, my head starts to think “if people at work see this, they’ll think I don’t need I be away right now”.

I KNOW mental health does not work that way.  I’m trying to get my brain into a better place.  I can only do that by doing things that will help it not focus and obsess on the things that trigger me while I wait for the counselling that will hopefully help me move on once and for all.  And as hard as I find it…I need to try and NOT feel guilty for recognising I’m not ready to reintroduce the stress of work back in, and be kind to myself.

As Michael told me last night, I’m being mature.  I could employ other coping mechanisms (drink for example, which I have done before), but I’m not.  I’m following the doctor’s advice, and although I’m not ‘better’ yet, progress is happening.  I just need to give it time.

So…Happy Birthday To Me.  It doesn’t feel like a good time to celebrate really.  I’m lying in bed writing this and truth be told, I would be most content staying here all day.  Alas, there is packing and cleaning to be done, and the doctor says I need to get out everyday.  So I’m going to see my sister, which should be nice.

Maybe the break away this weekend will be just what I need; here’s hoping.

Barbarossa Wood-Fired Pizza

I stayed over at Paul’s place on Wednesday night, which meant a little jaunt out into Middlesborough for a bite to eat.

We took a stroll down Bedford Street, and decided to give Barbarossa a try.  Paul had been told good things, so following both the positive words previously heard and also our shared love of pizza, it seemed like a sound plan!

Barbarossa prides itself on their sourdough bases being wood fired.  As a glance at the menu will depict, the options on offer range from your classic options such as margarita and Ham & Mushroom (which I opted for, with added olives), to the more interesting Wild Boar.

My verdict on the pizza I had?  Bloody delicious.  The base was of good thickness and the char from the wood burn was perfect.  The toppings were of a very good quality, and distribution across the dough was even.

For £11.45, I got my pizza and a drink.  I felt fully satisfied without any sides, although they are available for anyone wanting to flesh out the meal any more.

The Barbarossa Pizza Kitchen in Middlesborough comes well recommended.  I am looking forward to visiting again.

This Mothers Day…

This Mother’s Day weekend, I would like to ask that all parents remember that a child’s love for you is not a right; it is a privilege.

The relationship between a parent and a child is a one built on mutual respect and trust. In their younger days, your children will depend on you for everything and no doubt their love will be unconditional. As they grow, if you mistreat your children, they will soon learn to understand that maybe you don’t care for them in quite the way you should, and you may eventually find that their love is no longer as unconditional as it once was.

Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day, can be particularly painful for people who have tried to become parents and so far been unable (be that through conception, adoption or otherwise), parents who have lost children (be that due to miscarriage or passing before their time), people who have lost their parents, never known their parents or, if they have had to remove themselves from a relationship with one or more parents due to the toxic nature of the relationship, or abuse of some kind.

(List not exhaustive.)

Your children are precious. Their love is precious. On this weekend when everything focuses on you, the mother, please remember that not all of us have parents to lavish affection on, and/or not all of us have our children still with us to share the day with. Please continue to be ever grateful for what you have, and treat the love of your children with all the reverence and tenderness deserved.