This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge
Self-care is knowing its OK to not be OK
Allowing myself to not be OK is never easy for me. This is especially true when l have good things in my life, like now with my new partner. I think to myself, “why am l sad? Things are good!” But just because you are sad about one thing doesn’t mean everything else in your life can’t bring you happy feelings. It’s not black and white. I am very sad about mum, and that will be the case regardless of all the other lovely stuff in my life.
I think I also worry that, being in the early days of a new relationship, I don’t want him to see me low. I worry that it might put a downer on our time together. This was one of the reasons for not wanting to introduce my new partner to my mum. I knew that with mum having dementia, she wouldn’t really be able to comprehend my happiness. This on its own was upsetting but I also worried that having my partner with me at mums, would make me completely fall apart and I also didn’t want him to see that.
I am so glad I share in the way that I do, on here and on YouTube, as it gives me the chance to reflect on these things. When I uploaded my recent vlog about my dilemma about whether to take my partner to see my mum, I had some really kind and helpful comments. In the end I realised that seeing me upset is seeing the authentic me and that is what I want in a relationship. I also realised that I would be more upset if mum passed away having not met my partner. The sadness of that would far outweigh the sadness of her meeting him but not comprehending who he is.
As it turns out, it was a lovely meeting. Mum was quite out of it, she has been for a few weeks, but we got a few words from her. On asking her what she thought of my partner she replied, “He’ll do.”
We laughed a lot in that hour and both myself and my partner shared some damp-eyed gazes at each other. The meeting certainly wasn’t what it would have been pre-dementia days but it was special in its own way.
I was OK with not being OK, and it was OK.
This blog is part of the #365daysofselfcarechallenge
Self-care is learning to let go of the things you cannot control
When I began my recovery from mental illness and addiction, letting go was not an easy lesson for me However, I was helped to realise that my constant need to control everything was the cause of my pain, not the the thing itself. Learning this was a revelation that completely changed my perspective on control and letting go.
My life is in a huge period of change and is suddenly full of things I cannot control. Some of these things are positive, some negative, but in all life changing situations I currently find myself in, I have very little control of the actual outcome. I have a new relationship, a second party in my life to consider, my mum is slowly leaving us via the cruel hand of dementia, and I am at the beginning of a new career as a writer.
On top of this, I have been given a date for surgery. This should be my final stage, if all goes well. However, I have had many issues so there is a chance I will need further surgery if my last fix didn’t succeed. This has now been made even more complicated by the fact that I have an under-active thyroid, discovered only a couple of months ago. I found out last week that without my thyroid levels being stable, I will not be able to have surgery. I have had to cancel events this week, in order to get blood tests and run around liaising and emailing between my GP and Consultant. Its frustrating because I am cancelling events that I might not need to cancel if surgery doesn’t go ahead. If it doesn’t, on top of the disappointment at not being able to have surgery it will be hard not to be annoyed at missing a holiday with my best friend and a music festival.
This frustration however, is a complete waste of my energy and is not going to help improve anything. These events are simply out of my control. My energy is much better spent in controlling the things I can, like reorganising things so that I can get the necessary tests done. Letting go of what I can’t control, gives me the ability to better manage the things that are in my control, and allows me to be kinder to myself.
This blog is part of the #354daysofselfcare challenge
Self-care is allowing yourself to face difficult feelings
I love making YouTube videos. I find the process really cathartic and when you all share back with me, it helps me to recognise and make sense of things. This week l have found myself feeling a lot of sadness about mum and her diagnosis.
This has been prompted, ironically but understandably, by feeling so happy. Having met a wonderful man and beginning a new relationship. I really want to share my happiness with mum. However, she likely will not be able to communicate with me about it or relate properly to Chris if I introduce him to her.
I think this, combined with the fact that it was Fathers Day last Sunday, has just brought home the fact that sadly both my parents are now gone. Yes mum is still here, but in the same way, she also isn’t here. The dementia has taken the mum I know away and my Dad died when I was 13.
I’m a late bloomer. I’ve often say I’ve only been alive for 7 years and really is true. It was only when I started my journey of recovery in 2010, at the age of 37, that I began to make something of my life. This means I am doing everything at a later age. Discovering myself, developing my career, finding a relationship. This means that of course my Dad has missed all of this and unfortunately my mum is not going to be able to witness and share in any of it in any meaningful way.
The rush of sadness over the last few days is likely due to a bit of denial on my part. I think I’ve been squashing all this down as I really do not know how to deal with grieving for a person who is simultaneously here but not here. After initially thinking there would be little point in introducing Chris to mum, I realise that actually it may be the best thing I can do. Not so much for mum, but for myself, so that it helps me to begin to find ways to grieve for the gradual loss of mum.
I have learnt over time, that as much as it hurts to sit with pain, it really is the only way to move through it and heal.
This Blog is part of the #365daysofselfcare challenge
I barely slept last night. I was up and down to the toilet every couple of hours. It’s the worst my bladder has been for a couple of weeks. Being so tired, l slept through my alarm. However, with self-care in mind, I didn’t beat myself up about sleeping in. I instead took some deep breaths, accepted l needed the additional sleep and just started my writing work later than planned.
I also cancelled going to see mum as tiredness and a mum with dementia is not a great fit. I surprisingly managed 3 hours of writing done, and afterwards I planned to flake out on the sofa. However, I had a sudden urge to do a bit of exercise. I decided it would likely do my very unfit body some good. I went for a 20 minute circular walk on the seafront and then did a 15 min weight session.
In the evening, I rewarded myself by putting my feet up and watching the remaining episode of lost in space.
Another nicely balanced day which again surprised me. It shows that mindfulness really does help a day to develop and turn out well, even after an awful start.