Guilty

Over the past 4 years my Blog and I have been great friends. Writing about my experiences really helps me to make sense of my bouts of depression and keeps me connected with the outside world when I don’t physically step outside of my front door. I have made some lovely friends on here so “Thank you Poppyposts”:)

I feel guilty now because I have a new life. A new life which has taken some time to reach but they say that everything comes to those who wait and put simply, I haven’t felt so well mentally for as long as I can remember.

I have been very busy with my new job, my new puppy and my new-found positivity but that’s no excuse to abandon my Blog for almost 3 months! So I am back but with a different focus. How to stay well and what works for me. I think I have found a balance and with a few tweaks 2015 could be the year when I finish up a much healthier person physically, mentally and emotionally. I can look forward to that I’m sure.

I know that I am incredibly lucky to have a hugely supportive family, group of friends and an understanding employer but I have also been brave enough to take my opportunities as they have presented themselves.

The saying goes;

She who is brave is free

She who is brave is free

 I do feel that I have finally been released to live my life as I chose. How brave am I?

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The Spoon Theory

The Spoon Theory

When I read this article this morning I cried. Not because I was sad or upset but with relief because I may have found a way to describe how I feel to someone who looks at me and thinks I look OK. Someone who thinks that all my moans and groans about being tired, exhausted, and wiped out to the point of collapse and tears of frustration and pain are fiction. That’s the problem with an invisible illness. You look fine but underneath you are fighting to stay as normal as possible with every ounce of energy you have. If I could only find a way to explain that feeling, I would feel better. People would maybe understand and not judge. A little empathy and genuine concern costs nothing but you would think it costs the earth for its paucity.

I face any number of battles every morning before I go out of the house. I often use all my spoons before I get to work, and then I’m in deficit; running on empty whilst all the time destroying my engine. You can run on empty for a while. We all know that there is always something in reserve from what the car manufacturers tell you. Unfortunately when your body says enough is enough it’s usually time to wave the white flag and retire to bed for a while. Rest and recovery is vital in managing chronic fatigue syndrome and I spend most of my weekends in bed, either resting or asleep, just catching up from the week’s exertion. What a waste of time.

I hope that you will read about the Spoon Theory and imagine how it would impact you and your daily routine. It is the closest explanation I have seen for normally healthy people to start to understand what it is like to have depleted energy resources and reserves. I used to take my high energy for granted; Sport, competition, manic activity and multi-tasking were key skills of mine and I thrived on it. Now, I have to manage my energy supply. I only have so many spoons.

 

My new life

Jasper at 5 weeks

Jasper at 5 weeks

It’s been a while I know but I haven’t been idle. Far from it. I have been busy taking advantage of an amazing opportunity which has come my way out of the blue, but very welcome nonetheless. It’s funny how things just click together when the time is right and after a few years of long, depressing days, GCSE’s and A Level exams for my son Will, crippling fatigue and a 4-hour daily commute my luck has turned and I am on the cusp of a brand new life, and hopefully, a brand new me. Or at the very least, I get my old me back.

Firstly, I came back from my 3-week holiday in Iran back in July full of beans and determination to be positive and accepting of my illness. After two days of the dreaded 4-hour commute I was on my knees. I hadn’t realised just how exhausted I was before my holiday, as much mentally as physically, and how much the daily grind of the two-train-each-way journey to and from work ground me down.

I came home and in desperation posted on Facebook that I had had enough and needed a job which “feeds the soul, not sucks it dry.” In response to that post, a friend in another office suggested a role that would enable me to work from home. I couldn’t believe it and so I checked whether it was a truly viable option. Yes it was and (to cut a 3-month story very short) my new contract is finalised and I start my new role working from home on 1 October. What a difference that will make you cannot believe. I am still in denial but maybe after I have been up to Glasgow,where my new team is based, for two days next week, the reality will sink in.

One of the best things about working from home however is that I can, at last, have a dog. I love all animals and would have a house full if time and costs were no object, but I miss having a dog. The two cats we have are gorgeous and great company. Full of character and well behaved but I have wanted another dog for many years. It didn’t take me long to discuss this with hubby (who thankfully gave the green light) and after weeding out the breeds that are too big, too small, too ugly (!), too energetic and too high-maintenance I came down to two. A Cocker Spaniel or a Labrador. I am familiar with both breeds and felt that either one would suit us.

Whilst researching the Cocker Spaniel in more detail however, I came across a number of cross-breed options-posh-mongrels to dog snobs. Spoodles (Springer Spaniel/Poodle), Cavapoos (Cavalier King Charles Spaniel/Poodle) and CockerPoos (Cocker Spaniel/Poodle). There were also other cross-breeds with equally silly names like Labradoodles but the best one in my opinion is the JackShit (Jack Russell/ Shitszu cross). But who would want a dog called a JackShit?!

Anyway I digress. Again, cutting the story short, I homed in on a Cockerpoo and after a seemingly endless wait of 5 weeks, we pick up Jasper next weekend.

I’m sure that I will have lots of stories and photos of Jasper in the coming weeks and months but here are a few to keep you going until he comes to his forever home next Saturday. My life is changing that’s for sure and all for the better. Could this be the start of my real recovery after so many relapses? I hope so and from what I have read about Cockerpoos and seen from our pup so far, he will be the ultimate anti-depressant! Roll on Saturday- it can’t come soon enough.

 

 

Scrapbooking with the Tab Punch

Originally posted on We R Memory Keepers Blog:

While the Tab Punch is super handy for keeping albums, files, and documents organized, it’s also great to use on scrapbook pages.  For this layout I had one favorite photo I wanted to include, and several supporting photos that I wanted on the page as well.  I didn’t want to create a 2 page spread, so I decided to create an interactive element on my page instead.

WRMK_tab punch layout1_aly dosdall

I created a photo flip book and used the Tab Punch to organize and give subtitles to my photos.  I simply printed my subtitles on coordinating textured cardstock from the Chalkboard collection, punched them out, and added them to my photos with the Tab Stickers. I love that the Tab Punches each have a viewer on the bottom so you can line up your paper just right and see where you’re punching.

WRMK_tab punch layout2_aly dosdall

I layered my photos, staggering them to allow room…

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