Sunday, 25 January 2015

The More Things Change...

When I started this blog, six years ago, I was having a nervous breakdown. We use that term lightly these days but it was a proper, broken brain, type scenario. It was scary. I did not know that I could break. I did not know what to expect. There were a lot of lows - a lot - but I did get through it and my life became wonderful. From genuinely not expecting to live through the breakdown, however dramatic that sounds, I ended up giving birth to my beautiful daughter, Florence, restarted my career in teaching, lost 8 stones and took up running. It felt like my happy ever after.

However, since September 2014 I have been off work with anxiety. It'd been an odd year - I could feel the black dog breathing down my neck from January for no particular reason. I got into running and went from running 10k (6 miles) to a marathon - 26.2 miles. That was a lifetime high as, until 2012, I always thought I was pretty much allergic to exercise. However, something, generally, wasn't quite right. It came to a head at the end of the summer when the school I work at was taken over by an academy chain. It was a soul destroying few weeks. The skills I had, and the job I loved (engaging disaffected teenagers) was no longer considered a priority. I was moved into an area I had little experience in or enjoyment of, and the work hours ramped up massively. I did three weeks of 80 hours of work, on a 3 day contract. My 3 children still needed all the day to day things that they ever did. I was in the thick of marathon training. I was spending weekends driving all over the country looking at prospective universities with Jonathan. My parents weren't in the best of health and both needed me to drive them to numerous hospital appointments. Something had to give.

I could feel the old symptoms creeping back: the whirring brain that never switches off. The crying. The constant feeling of panic and uselessness in your stomach. So, I quit. I walked away. I went and cried on my lovely GP who signed me straight off work, and I handed my resignation in the very next day. My health was not worth sacrificing - especially not for the £1.15 an hour (net) I had been working for.

I took the photo above on the day I realised that I couldn't go on anymore. I have plenty of pictures of me looking like a strong woman in 2014. I wanted to post this one to remind myself that I can break. However, I was strong enough to walk away. I decided that I would put myself first and I did. I'm pretty proud of that.

Since that day, well, things have been a bit variable, to be honest. I am still signed off and still struggling with anxiety which can feel all-encompassing some days. Some days I don't want to leave the house. But I make myself. I am keeping myself busy because I have been here before, and I know I will heal. It will just take time. I still have my beautiful daughter, and she is more amazing than I could have ever imagined. I still have my fantastic boys and my wonderful husband. I have my health.

From now on, this blog will be a reflection of my life now. It probably won't be as craft-focussed as it once was. I still love to craft, but don't get much opportunity. To be honest, I don't actually mind if nobody reads this, because the very act of pouring my soul into the void is healing. Plus, it's a kind of personal archive that I think keeps a more dynamic record of my life, warts and all, than a photo album or a diary.

So, what will I blog about? Parenting, for sure. Right now I am pretty obsessed with decluttering and reorganising our home. I still love to cook. I am learning to live on a budget (using YNAB - 'You Need A Budget' app) which is why I have migrated my blog from Typepad to Blogger (who could overlook a saving of over £60 a year?!) Cleaning - I am just a little obsessed with Flylady and Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners. Cooking - feeding a family of five on a budget of 5p is not an easy challenge. Plus I am trying to eat healthily, lose weight and shift the last 4 stones I want to lose.

It may seem a bit strange, but I don't actually feel terribly negative about my situation generally, even if I feel bad somedays. Maybe its because I not only healed before, but my life became so much better. I always knew the black dog would snap at my heals again. I know that I will probably have to dance this dance with him for the rest of my life. I also know that I am rich in love and, bearing all this in mind, having little money really is nothing to worry too much about. It's circumstance, not destination.

Care to share the next part of the journey with me?

Claire x