Sick and Tired…

I am really sick and tired of being sick and tired. I became seriously ill back in 2007 and fought it off and worked every single day that I could. I was determined to cope with things.

Then in February of 2009, I became even worse. One morning I woke up, and I simply could not move. Every time I tried, a searing pain would shoot the whole way around my body and that made it impossible for me to actually get my ass out of bed. My body was sick and tired of being forced through that shit every single frikkin’ damn day.

I shouted and shouted and eventually my eldest got up out of his bed and came through to see what the hell was wrong. When he saw the state I was in, he just ran forward and gave me a huge hug. I had to really bite my lip to keep from screaming on that one, because my eldest is severely autistic and if I had reacted in any negative way, it would have severely affected his mood and I will never deliberately do that to him. Ever.

Eventually, around ten minutes later, he went and got me what I needed – my own mobile phone so that I could call the boys school and tell them that they would be a little bit late as I was having some difficulties. Luckily the school understood and were really fine about things. Then I had to call my partner who was at work and wasn’t happy about having to come home. That was until he actually got home and saw me sweating and vomiting over the side of the bed into my rubbish bin because the pain I was experiencing was literally that bad.

He rang my doctor’s surgery and they advised him to call 999 to get me to hospital. I fought against this because the ambulance service are under enough stress. They don’t need to be dropping the blues and twos for my pain they really don’t. So I begged for a doctor to come see me at home instead. Foolish me thinking that he would see me and just tell me to rest a while and all would be well. Oh no no foolish woman! Guess again! After being poked and prodded around, he pulled my partner off to one side and started talking to him which really did piss me off! Ummmm, hello? It’s my legs that aren’t working, not my brain.

The doctor then announced that I did have to go to hospital and he was calling ahead to get me a bed and also arranging for ambulance transport (not paramedics) to come and take me in. My partner packed my bags and then took the boys to school so they wouldn’t have to see me leave in an ambulance. He was back before they even arrived. A fast ambulance ride later and I arrived on the medical emergency ward. A few hours later, I was taken onto one of the medical wards. My care was undertaken by a group of consultants. Medical, Orthopaedic and Rheumatolgy. I went through two long weeks of scans, X-rays and blood tests. This resulted in me being given one hell of a shock. I didn’t get just one diagnosis. I got several, and all of them were life changing.

I was told that I had both osteo and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Then Fibromyalgia and type 3 Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome which also led to me being diagnosed as having Dysautomia due to Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. After that came osteoporosis.

Just as an afterthought, I have restless leg syndrome, trigeminal neuralgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, a cardiac murmur and a small congenital hole in my heart. Couple that with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and IBS and you can imagine that since February of 2009 that my life has become hugely different and I had gone from being a totally independent woman who worked bloody hard and had been a registered nurse for most of my working life to being a totally dependant woman who needs help with pretty much every aspect of my personal life and care. This really gets to me. It makes me so sad and so freakin’ angry. I used to bake some pretty awesome cakes (I did a mean lemon drizzle) and I just can’t do that anymore. I can’t cook, clean, take care of the house or myself. I literally am dependant on my carer for everything. Yup, at 46 years old, I have a carer. 😭😭😭 I hate my life.

My day starts when I wake up, normally around 4am. I’ll have had around three hours of broken sleep and been tossing and turning like a fucking washing machine. I then clock (almost typed cock then) watch round to 6.30am when I can take my morning medication – hey, it’s only a handful of 15 pills. Shake me and I’ll rattle! Then I need to wait until around 8.30-9am for my carer to arrive. I’ll then get my hot water bottle made for my back. If the day is a very bad one, then there is a less than zero percent chance of me getting out of bed. I know if I do my pain levels will shoot through the roof and if I’m lucky, only one joint will dislocate. I have learned how to pop most of my joints back into place. I would be spending half of my life in the emergency room otherwise. The only joint I can’t do is my shoulder. So days like that see me with all of my braces on and resting in bed.

◦ On the rare days when I feel well enough to get out of bed, I will have help to get changed into a clean pair of PJs. I have hyperathaesia and my skin is so sensitive, most days I can only tolerate soft cotton PJs. On bad days, I have to go nekkid. If my bad days fall on a day where I have to leave the house for an appointment, I really suffer and have to strip the moment I get back home. I hate it.

On good days, I’m able to prop myself up in bed and either do some colouring or write letters. On a bad day, I just tend to cry and read on my Kindle.

I’ve learned to accept that my day is peppered with taking pills and having my time consumed by struggling to do even the most simple of things. I’ve had to learn not to be sick and tired. I’m just so very lucky that my friends and family are tolerant and I am so bloody lucky to have them in my life I really am. Without them I would be less than nothing.

Most of my days are now spent reading, writing letters as I’ve already said, and trying to think of interesting things that people who follow my blog might like to read. I try hard to balance what I write and I also try to fact check anything newsworthy as I don’t like spreading stories that aren’t true. It can do a lot of damage to people.

So why write this? I guess just to show how things can change in the blink of an eye and you should never be ungrateful for what you have. I see myself now as very lucky. People have asked me how I can say that given how my life has changed. It took me a while and a lot of adaptation before I could say it. I have two fabulous kids, a partner who worships me, a gorgeous if slightly potty cat and some of the best friends that I could ever wish for!

Be kind to each other!x

Our Mental Illnesses Are NOT Your Cute Personality Quirks…

Seriously people. The next time that I hear”Oh I must tidy up, I’m so OCD today” or “Oh she’s up one minute and down the next – she’s so bipolar!” I am going to stuff my walking stick right up that person’s asshole and turn them into a fucking lollipop. I swear I am.

Listen up people. Suffering from mental illness is no triviality and neither is it a fucking joke. I have struggles with several mental health issues, OCD and bipolar being two of them, so it really does set my teeth on edge when I hear someone coming out with an off the cuff, totally fucking moronic comment like that.

When we said we wanted mental health disorders to be spoken about more, we didn’t mean for you to appropriate them into your everyday conversations.

Lately (and unfortunately), it is becoming something of the norm that mental health disorders find their way into everyday discussions, and not in the way we’d like them to. I can’t count on my hand how many times I’ve heard someone who’s had a minor inconvenience or mishap go on to complain about how ‘depressed’ they are. Not only is it infuriating, but it’s hurtful.

For those diagnosed with depression, you’ll know it’s not something that suddenly happens after something goes wrong, or you’ve had a ‘bad day.’ It’s a constant state, you’re trapped in it, and it is definitely not something that can be used as an adjective.

No, Sarah, just because your boyfriend hasn’t texted back in three hours, doesn’t mean you’re not depressed.

You are upset, sad, down, blue (see ‘unhappy‘ in the thesaurus for more synonyms) but you are certainly not depressed.

However by comparing your sadness to a mental health disorder, what you’ve done is silence the kid three seats down from you who’s been dealing with this disorder for months, who’s struggling to wake up every morning, who’s on medication just to get them through the day.

You’re comparing a moment of sadness in your life, to a lifetime of theirs.

But it’s not just depression that is used as an adjective, it’s next to all mental health disorders. I remember sitting in class once whilst a group of teenage boys were stalking a girl’s Instagram page. They reached a picture of her where she looked skinny, slim, and thin, and all they could think to say was, “Wow, she’s so anorexic!” I was thinking to myself, “Really? Out of all the words to call her, you had to relate it back to a mental health disorder?”

The list goes on; calling someone who organizes their work neatly on a table ‘OCD’, calling someone who’s mood has changed from the last time you saw them ‘bipolar’, not getting a good nights sleep and complaining that you must have ‘insomnia.’ They are not adjectives, they are our real mental health disorders that real people face. We have not come forward about them for you to simply misdiagnose yourself after one incident.

So next time you feel the need to compare your sad moment. tidying of your room or unexpected mood swing to a mental health disorder, open a thesaurus. There are plenty of synonyms; use a different one.

Things You Take For Granted…

There are many things in this life that we all take for granted and are not in the slightest bit grateful that we have the ability to actually do them and do them without even thinking about it.

Little things like brushing your own hair and brushing your own teeth are so underrated… until you cannot do them by yourself. I cannot brush my own hair. My carer is awesome, but has so much to cope with that little things like my hair get forgotten about. Then I end up feeling guilty that I have to ask. Then half an hour later I have to ask again as it has been forgotten and so on and so on. I end up in floods of tears as I feel like I’m nagging for something that is so simple that is so simple, I should be able to do this for myself. Yet I can’t. I try to lift my arms up to get my hands to my head and my shoulders crack and searing agony shoots across the top of my body. My shoulders will not move more than an inch before they crack and pop, and if I’m not careful, they will dislocate. That, my dear readers hurts like a bee-otch I can tell you. I can’t brush my own freakin’ hair and I hate myself for it. I feel so freakin’ useless because of it. I really miss just being able to lift up the brush, style and go.

Brushing my teeth. That, like most of the hygiene related tasks that I can relate to is so difficult. On the good days when I can stand at the sink, I have an electric toothbrush, but when I can’t make it? I have to use listerine strips.

All of these little things. Hygiene, dressing, getting to the loo and even pampering yourself. Little things that you take for granted when you are “healthy”. You simply do not realise just how much you miss them until you can not do them, and the effect that this can have upon you as a person can be quite devastating, it really can.

I miss ironing. Yes, I know that you will all recoil in horror, but I genuinely did love ironing. I would put on some classical music and happily stand there till it was all ironed. Socks, underwear, towels, the lot. Even something as mundane as housework. Even things you hate (for me that was hoovering) but ironically I even miss that.

I guess that my point here is that you do not realise just how valuable little mundane aspects of your life truly are. Things that you would do without even thinking about it. Spreading your own butter on a piece of toast. Opening a can of fizzy juice. Those are the kinds of things that you do not miss until they are no longer a part of your everyday life.

I’m slowly learning how to cope with this aspect of my illness, and every day that passes, I become a little more adept at coming to terms with what I no longer have the ability to do due to my illness. I’ll never be completely over it but in life, we must learn to adapt when our circumstances change and we cannot prevent it.

I guess that what I am trying to say is this. Never, ever be upset or ungrateful about little things. Be glad, be happy that you can pick up that iron or push that hoover. Be glad you can make your own cup of tea or coffee. Be glad you can stand in the shower and not have to sit on a chair and have someone wash you while you are there.

Give thanks every day for the small stuff. Never ever lose that, and always love your life.

Well, I guess that is all for this time so I’ll finish here.

Be kind to each other.x

Please help Revive a Rural African Child…

I need everyone to have a look at and to share this utterly amazing charity. They are a tiny little organisation in rural Uganda who are dedicated to helping children get an education. Unlike major charities who siphon off donations to pay salaries, 100% of what you give goes to help these kids. Please, please, please take a second to think about doing something that would make these kids feel over the moon! Please reblog this everywhere and anywhere. Please, please, please?

Revive a Rural African Child
Thank you so much!!!

Consumerism gone mad…

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to give your family a wonderful time at christmas. But where does the line get drawn? Should a line be drawn? Or should people spend and spend and spend until they have accumulated piles upon piles of crap, three quarters of which you can guarantee will have been broken and/or forgotten about by the end of January.

I was thinking about this the other day as the final gift had arrived in the post. It was a video game that I had pre-ordered a couple of months ago for my eldest rug rat. I got a nice surprise in the form of an email from Amazon telling me that they had refunded me some of the price as it was cheaper than quoted. It might only be pennies, but pennies certainly help!

I am a single mum to two kids. My boys are my world and I would crawl through fire to give them the best time that I can. I am disabled and cannot work, so my money is very tight. I scrimp and save all year round and I will start buying them things around August. They are both really sensible kids and they know that I don’t have much money. So they give me a list with one “definite” thing and some other, smaller things too. I make sure they get their one definite gift, and then if I can, I will get them some other things from the list as well. I’ll also get them some of their favourite chocolate to wrap up and put in their stockings.

I’m well aware that some people cannot afford to do that. Some people cannot even afford to eat. So every year, I will donate £5 to Shelter Scotland. I know it isn’t much, but it will at least go towards helping someone eat. Here is the link should you want to help them out too.

Please help Shelter Scotland!
I had to face the dreaded annual christmas food shop yesterday. Normally I do my food shopping online, but I need to shop at a particular place for christmas to help get the best value for money. It’s basically a frozen food store that sells some other bits and pieces too. It allows me to get a lot more food for the same price, so I can make sure my boys eat well at christmas.

There is a pound shop next door to it (similar to the Dollar Tree for my Amerucan readers) so I can pick up some extra little treats for very little money, which is a huge help, it really is.

Upon coming out of that shop, there was a homeless guy sitting there on the floor. He was thin and dirty and his clothes were threadbare and full of holes. He had the blankest look on his face I have ever seen. He looked so sad and full of dispair. It was heartbreaking to see. He had a polystyrene cup in front of him on the ground, and it had only a few pennies in. People were walking by and they just didn’t see him at all. They were so wrapped up in their raging consumerism, they didn’t want to see a reminder of how poor things can be for people.

I was almost in tears. I was panicking because of the crowds and just wanted to get back to the car. But I couldn’t just turn my back on this man. I sent my carer to get the blanket we keep in the boot of the car, so he could at least have something to keep him warm. I had no cash on me at all. I always use my debit card when shopping. I wanted to give him some money so badly. Then I had a brainwave. I gave him a two litre bottle of water and some crisps and biscuits and chocolates from our groceries. OK, it wasn’t ideal, but at least he had something to eat and drink. How could everyone just step on by and ignore him like that?

I thought about all the massive amounts of food that get wasted at this time of year. Not only the crazy excesses that people buy for their families, but also the waste that supermarkets create every year. We should all follow France’s lead and donate all that food to homeless shelters/food banks.

Then last night, I was browsing the news on the Internet and I came across a story that really got to me. A mother of three from the Isle of Man has spent over £1500 on gifts for her family. The pile is so huge that it obscures their christmas tree! Now a part of me thinks that she saves hard to buy those gifts and she has a right to buy whatever the hell she likes for her own family. Then my mind sees that poor man sitting on the floor with his soulless eyes. The man who cried at being given a bottle of water and some crisps. I can’t accept that level of consumerism as being ok when people like him suffer on the streets at christmas.

You can read Emma Tapping’s story here and judge for yourselves.

Consumerism gone too far.
I will always do my best to make my kids happy at christmas. But I will also try my hardest to show them that while it’s ok to have a good time, they must also think of and help those who cannot afford to be caught in the consumerist trap.

A modern day Dr. Dolittle…

I read a story yesterday, which I stumbled across by accident on the Huffington Post. A story that really did take my breath away and restored my faith in human nature, which is really quite amazing! People can be good!

The story concerns a young man. His name is Callum Underdown and he is 12 years old, and he is a really remarkable person. He has a real passion and his passion is caring for  animals.

I was in awe at the commitment and  love that he shows. Basically Callum finds abondoned and hurt animals and he gives them a new lease of life. He has helped over one hundred animals to date, which is an incredible feat!

He spends most of his time online, tracking down these injured and unwanted animals, and he cares for them himself, using only his own pocket money.

Callum’s mum eventually found that things were a little too busy at home, so she arranged for Callum to  have a small holding on a local farm so he could care for his animals there. He currently cares for goats, rabbits, geese, chickens and guinea pigs.

He goes twice a day whilst at school and spends all his spare time helping the animals in his care. He has cared for these animals with dedication, love and skill.

His story can be read in full here…A modern day Dr. Dolittle!

It is such an inspiring read. But the important thing and the real point of this blog post, is to raise awareness of what Callum is doing and to help to raise funds for him to give the animals a better life. Right now, the only funds he has is his own pocket money.

So PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you can, will you donate what you can to help Callum? If you can’t donate, will you please share this post as far and as wide as you can?

The link to donate to Callum’s farm is here…PLEASE HELP CALLUM!

Every share that happens raises awareness, so please help me to help Callum & his mum. Thank you all so much.x

Something in the air?

Something must be in the air. Something that is feeding the black dog. Feeding him so well that he seems to be barking at the heels of several people that are very dear to me and also barking at my own heels. When I see people that I care so much about suffering under a black cloud, it breaks my heart. I wish that I could chase their black dog away and clear the skies over their heads.

I try to let them know that I’m there for them without intruding and making myself unwelcome. I think that just knowing someone gives enough of a shit to reach out to you can help you and make you feel so much better. After all, a tiny spark of light can be enough to chase away the darkness.

So to all of my wonderful friends that are feeling the black dog yapping at their heels – I’m trying so hard to chase him away for you. Remember I am always here and the dark clouds will soon be blown away and clear skies will follow. Big (((hugs))) and lots of love.x

Don’t ask me how I am if you’re not prepared for the answer.

I have a lot of issues, both physical and psychological. I have a number of conditions that mean I am in constant agonising pain. I seriously cannot remember the last time I wasn’t in pain. My conditions cause other physical problems too. I have a full time carer as a result.

My psychological issues cause an awful lot of problems for me. I am agoraphobic, extremely anxious, I panic all the time, have serious paranoia, I have trust issues, PTSD, depression, type 1 bipolar and a butt load of other phobias.

Every day I face a battle to put a smile on my face. I wish with all my heart that I could be one of the amazingly brave people who can do that. But I’m not. I’m one of the broken ones with no strength left. But I try for my family. Because they deserve it.

People ask me how I am. If I tell the truth and say, “I feel like shit. I’m in agony and I can’t stop crying because I feel so worthless”, I get called a miserable bitch and told to cheer up. Or even worse then that… the people who asked me will go behind my back to other friends and say, “what’s the matter with her? She is just a moaning, miserable cow!”

Well yes I am. I can’t help it. If you were in my shoes, you would be too. So please, don’t ask me how I am if you can’t handle the answer.

Doing a little something to make the world a better place.

Clicking to give.

This is something that I do every single day and it is hugely important to me. I visit several websites that allow me to click on little icons, pet kitties or answer questions in order to do something vitally good for a very important cause.

Most of the sites that I visit have more than one cause on them. For example diabetes, autism, animal welfare etc. So for just a few seconds on each page, I can help to raise money for a cause.

I’ve been chewed out by someone before now because they did not understand how the whole thing worked. It is really very simple. Advertisers buy space on the site and the website gets more money for every click for the charity they are supporting. A second of your time to do some good in this world. The world needs more people to give a shit… Even if it is just for a second.

Each one of these sites takes seconds to follow and does so much good. I do them every single day. Not because it makes me feel good – but because simply put, it is the right thing to do.