Disconnect

I’m actually a very good sleeper. I sleep a little like a brick, usually from the moment my head touches the pillow until my a few minutes into my sunrise clock coming on in the morning. I might wake up once during the night to pee, but I go straight back to sleep. That is, until I get my period. Then it’s all change. I’m fidgety. More fidgety than usual. I’m hot. I’m cold. I’m hot again. I itch. I itch everywhere. I’m uncomfortable. In every position. It absolutely sucks.

I used to suffer with insomnia a lot when I was younger. Night time was when my brain came to life. When every single problem, no matter how insignificant, came to the forefront of my consciousness. Where all my creativity ignited. It was exhausting, draining, hard to manage. And then I got diagnosed as a coeliac and went on a gluten-free diet and the insomnia stopped. I’m not suggesting for a minute that gluten causes insomnia but it was definitely diet related for me. Apart from when I have my period, obviously. Then it must be hormone related. Damn hormones.

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Anyway, as I’m up, at 3.45am, I might as well put my brain to use instead of just uncomfortably tossing and turning in my bed. There’s been a lot going on recently. I have separated from Elton. Most of you that know me, will know this already as it happened back at the beginning of December. It had been on the cards for a while, things just weren’t right. Unfortunately there has been a lot of grief in our marriage. Miscarriage, failed IVF, the realisation that a family is not what I will have, it’s all tied up with Elton. It’s not his fault but I can’t move on with him. I need to disconnect.

And that just momentarily brings me back to why I’m up at this unsociable hour. Why the fuck do I still get periods? I’ve gone through this before I know, but it still makes me so angry. Not that I’m desperate to go through the menopause but having a monthly reminder of what could have been is just like a sucker punch. Every fucking month. Anyway, I digress…

So, disconnection. It’s an interesting word for me as it has recently come up in my therapy sessions. One thing that I have had an issue with my whole life is feeling disconnected to things that I have done. This struck me most when I got back from nearly two years of travelling. Almost as soon as I got back I felt disconnected from the whole experience. I had memories and a bunch of photographs but, the only way I can describe it was, it felt like it had happened to someone else and I had just been told about it, rather than experiencing it for myself.

I have recently been through this experience again. For those of you that follow my other blog page, you will know that at the beginning of January I ran the equivalent of three marathons in three days as part of an ongoing challenge I have set myself this year. Now I haven’t run a marathon since 2011 and I have NEVER run three back to back. It was incredibly emotional, going through pain, joy, disappointment, happiness, pride, elation, relief and a whole host of other emotions yet almost immediately I felt completely disconnected from it. Like it had happened to someone else.

So this feeling of disconnection became the topic of conversation when I recently met with my therapist. And what an interesting conversation that became! I am adopted. I was removed from my mother after a few days and put in foster care and then adopted at the age of 10 weeks. Just a wee baby. I’ve never had any issues with this. My parents are amazing, loving and incredibly supportive and I have never wanted for anything. I have also met both my natural parents and their families and still have a close relationship with my natural father and my half-siblings. I’ve never felt that my adoption was a ‘trauma’ in my life. However…

The way my therapist described pregnancy is that mother and baby are one. Joined not just by the physical umbilical cord and subsequent breast feeding but in every other way as well. The first three months of a baby’s life are fundamental. The child develops into an individual but is grounded by this continued bond with their mother. Any child removed from their mother during this time is quite likely to go on to develop some issues in adult life – I’m not a psychologist so I’m not going to attempt to go into this any further, suffice to say, the way it was explained to me made sense.

So I went through a physical ‘trauma’ when I was just a couple of days old. I obviously don’t remember this but it has left a scar. I am disconnected. Disconnected from myself. I seek out relationships, activities, experiences, adventures that make me feel things but these feelings are short-lived. They are in the moment. My emotions feel very real, they feel very intense, but then they’re gone. Like they happened to someone else. In order to really ‘feel’ emotions, I need to reconnect to myself.

A dream that I have had many times throughout my life is that I can breathe underwater. How cool is that? I mean, sometimes, when I’m swimming, I actually question whether it’s true as the dreams have felt so real! I’ve always just thought this was a cool dream however, as my therapist pointed out, there is only one place in reality where you can actually breathe underwater. The womb. Boom. When he said this it was like a lightbulb moment. This is my safe space. This is my point of reconnect. These dreams are positive. I need to have more breathing underwater dreams. Slowly but surely I will reconnect with myself and then, maybe, I will be able to connect properly with everything and everyone else.

I think the closest I came to reconnect before was when I was pregnant. And that makes sense to me now. Perhaps that’s why it’s been so hard for me to get over my miscarriage. It wasn’t about losing the child, although that was a huge part of it, it was also about losing part of me. It was like a step backwards in the ongoing reconnect that has been my life.

Sorry, I think I might be rambling. It is 4.30 in the morning and I am tired. And my hormones are all over the place. Damn hormones. Still, this has all been a bit of revelation to me. Some of you may be thinking it all sounds a bit kooky, and I think I would too if you were telling me. But it resonates, it has ignited something inside me. It has raised something in my subconscious. I actually feel the head of the nail has been hit.

Time to go back to bed. Maybe I’ll dream I can breathe underwater. Maybe I’ll have a moment of reconnect. Maybe those moments of reconnect will become more frequent. I can live in hope.

Goodnight.

Acceptance

I realise it’s been a while since I’ve talked about the whole childless thing, even though that’s what this blog was all about initially. Well, it wasn’t about childlessness, it was about going through IVF but ultimately that amounted to the same thing. Yesterday I ended up in a thread within a Facebook group I’m a member of, discussing the prospects of perimenopause. This then got me thinking about everything that has gone before and how I currently feel about things.

I know I’ve entitled this post ‘acceptance’ but that might imply that I’m in a happy place over my childless situation. I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in a bad place either, I have just come to accept my fate and now have to get on with the rest of my life. I see a therapist and that’s probably why I haven’t really blogged about it – blogging was my therapy for a while 😉

Sometimes I’m quite happy that I don’t have children but sometimes (it’s happening less often) I get completely floored by it. My emotions run riot, I’m all over the shop and I have the deepest and unfathomable sense of loss. Maybe it has been conditioned into me, the need for a child. Maybe I’ve always been searching for some sort of completeness that I thought would come with a child. Maybe it never would have made a difference. I suppose the thing that gets me the most is that I will never know. Someone summed it up for me yesterday; I’m angry about having my choice taken away. 

I’m also really angry that I still have my periods. It’s like a sucker punch every month (or every 23 days in my case). If I’m not producing eggs anymore then why does my body have to keep reminding me of what could have been? Nature’s way of rubbing your nose in it? Harsh really. And then there was last month. 33 days and still no period. I knew I wasn’t pregnant but I had no symptoms of a period either. I ended up doing a pregnancy test. Why on earth would I do that to myself? Of course it was negative and of course my period came the next day. Like I said, harsh.

So, back to the perimenopause. Lately I’ve been struggling with fitness motivation. I’ve been tired. I’ve been having night sweats for a few years now but they’re increasing. I get headaches. I’ve been eating badly. I get strange nerve pains through my body. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. I can’t actually be bothered to go to the doctor about it because it doesn’t affect me that much. I just need to give myself a good kick up the arse and get back on programme. I’ll start tomorrow…

The other thing that gets my goat is people with children. I have lots of friends with children. I love my friends, I love my friends’ children. But I don’t need to hear about them all the time. I’m sorry, but actually what I do is zone out of the conversation. Or walk away. Or start talking about my dogs (well, they’re children to me!). It’s really people I don’t know with children that I’m talking about. Or maybe they don’t even have children, they’re just rude. When you first meet someone, is it appropriate to ask them if they have children? I hadn’t really thought about it until I couldn’t have children. It’s not. I usually just reply ‘no’. Generally that means the conversation moves on. But occasionally people are really rude. ‘So do you not want children?’ WHAT THE FUCK HAS IT GOT TO DO WITH YOU??? Saying ‘I can’t have children’ usually shuts them up but seriously, WTF?

I have lots of friends who are childless out of choice. Their choice. Sometimes they like to bracket me in with them but that’s a little like putting a square peg in a round hole. I’m not childless out of choice. However, the above applies on their behalf too. And I don’t hold anything against people who choose not to have children. I do, on the other hand, hold something against people who have children but then choose not to love them or care for them or keep them safe. Those people are monsters.

Anyway, I think I might have gone off track (no change there, the rambler returns…) and have moved away from this concept of acceptance. It’s time to move on. I’m nearly 46 and I have to start thinking about a different course for me. I’m not going to have a family in the traditional sense but I have ‘my family’. I have my husband, my two dogs, my cat, my mum and dad, my friends. I also have my other half a family: my half sisters, my birth father. I’m doing ok. I have a home, my health and my fitness (generally) and I do a job that I enjoy. There are lots of people in the world far worse off than me and maybe, just maybe, in this age of climate change, political instability, unfairness, poverty and overcrowding, not bringing one more mouth to feed into this world is a positive step.

Ups and downs

Following on from my last post about living with someone who has depression, I wanted to make something clear that perhaps I didn’t before. Although I question myself about why I didn’t walk away right at the start, I’m always glad I didn’t. I love my husband and he loves me, I think more than I will ever be able to reciprocate. We make a good team.

We don’t have an easy marriage, that’s for sure. Although we are very similar in some ways: we both love the outdoors and we both do a lot of exercise; we are also very different. I have always been a social animal. I love spending my time with my friends and family, I like going out, I like doing exercise with others (I run with friends, I cycle with a club, I go to Crossfit and enjoy being part of that community). My other half, on the other hand, likes to be solitary. He always exercises alone. He doesn’t look forward to group gatherings. He particularly dislikes large group events (weddings, etc.). He likes to spend time with me but otherwise he is much happier by himself. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t have friends, he does, but I wouldn’t call them close friends.

I love my dog, Bailey. My husband is not really an animal person. This has an affect on us as he gets jealous of the dog. I think that’s crazy but for him it’s very real. Bailey has been with me since he was 8 weeks old. I can’t have children but I can have a dog. To me he is like a child and people who aren’t dog lovers just don’t get this.

We bicker. We bicker about silly things. We’re a bit like my mum and dad in that respect and they have been together over 50 years so maybe that’s not a bad thing 😉 We struggle financially. I don’t know why as we both work hard but we’re just both inherently bad with money. We have no security, no savings, nothing in place for the future. We have debt. We live from hand to mouth and I’m sure this doesn’t help with the stresses of things. Still, we have a roof over our heads, we have food on the table and we get by. Of this we should be extremely grateful as there are others out there a lot less fortunate than us.

Living with someone with depression is really hard. The good times are great but the bad times can be really bad. And they can be unexpected. There doesn’t have to be a reason, a trigger. It can just happen. And I’m not always ready for it. This time I really wasn’t ready for it. He’s doing better. He’s upped his meds and he’s setting out strategies for himself. We even talked about the affect it has on me. He bought me flowers. They are beautiful flowers and the same colours as our wedding flowers ❤ He knows that his illness is selfish. He knows how much it impacts me and he is eternally grateful for my support. In fact you can read all about it from his perspective here.

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I went to see a friend on Friday afternoon. A good friend who only lives 20 minutes away and who I don’t see nearly enough. She is struggling too. We both need to be there for each other. Friends are so important. Having someone to talk to is so important. I am setting myself some additional goals for this year and that is to spend more time with friends. To be there for my friends and for them to be there for me. A problem shared and all that… I’m also going to stop comparing my marriage to other people’s. It doesn’t work like that. We are all different. We all have our crosses to bear, some just more than others.

🙂

 

Living with Depression

I don’t suffer with depression, of this I am eternally grateful. I do, however, live with it. My husband has depression and has suffered with this crippling illness for over 20 years. We have only been together for 6 years and sometimes I do wonder to myself why I didn’t just walk away right at the start. That sounds harsh I know but it’s true. It takes an incredible toll on our relationship.

At the moment I am imploding. Quietly. He is going through a difficult time right now and I have reached tipping point. I’m just not sure how to support him this time. I feel like I’ve run empty on the right things to say, on the right things to do, on the support I can give him. It’s tearing me apart as I feel like my marriage is in danger of falling apart. I have my own things going on – financial stress mainly, as usual. Normally I seem to be able to cope with everything life throws at me but right now I just don’t have it in me. I just want to shout ‘pull yourself together’ despite knowing full well this is the WORST thing I can say.

Depression is a nasty, selfish, all-consuming illness and unless you have lived with it, either personally or through someone else, you will never understand its effects. It is debilitating. It is driving us apart. I feel lost. I love him but I’m not sure that’s enough right now.

End of the season

So this time, seven months ago, I was just setting out on the IVF journey. It was a short-lived journey, but it was a journey nonetheless. In fact, I’ve just been re-reading that first blog post Motherhood… or not and it’s reminded me just how much I’ve, sorry, we’ve, been through in quite a short space of time. Actually, in reality, I didn’t start the journey seven months ago. It started long before that. But the sciency bit started then. The drugs and the needles started then. The short-lived hope started then. But I always had a plan B. I had to have a plan B. I knew the odds. They were stacked against us from the start.

Plan B was to get fit. To train. To complete three full distance triathlons in 2017. Well here we are, at the end of the season and I have done it. In fact I have spent 13 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds racing in full distance triathlons. But that’s not all. I’ve also completed a 10km trail race, a sprint distance triathlon and I’ve started doing Yoga and going to Crossfit. Oh, and I’m taking part in a 100 mile cycle sportive on Sunday… Yep, you got that right, I have become an exercise junkie!

Don’t get me wrong, I still like drinking cider and gin (not together, might I add) and eating cake and I still find running more of a means to an end than something I actually ‘enjoy’ but I’m loving the endorphines that I am getting from it all. The sense of achievement. The focus. The community. It’s what I need. There will always be a huge hole in my life, one that can never be filled with anything else, but this helps. It definitely helps.

So what now? Well, now I’ve proved I can do it, I need to do it better. I want to train properly. I want to improve. I want to get stronger, fitter, better. I want to eat better (that’s going to be the toughest challenge) and I want to feel good about myself. I’ve already signed myself up for a sprint triathlon in March, the Adventure Triathlon Series (same as I’ve done this year) and a trail half marathon. I also want to go out to France and cycle up Mont Ventoux and Alpe d’Huez (I’ve done this one before on our honeymoon but I want to do it properly). I want to get better at lifting weights and I want to improve my flexibility and my core strength. I want to be happy in myself and happy in the life we have without children (obviously Elton has a daughter who I love heaps but you know what I mean) and I want to get joy from the simple things.

I seriously believe that without the training, without the hard work, I would have slipped into a depression. This has saved me and now there is no going back 😀