Tag Archive | recovery

114 days of Freedom

 

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So, another UK tax return filing deadline has come and gone and after two weeks of “tidying up” I now have 114 days of freedom before I return to work. Last year I took to writing a journal , but I am fast running out of space to keep all my different memory books, scrapbooks and travel journals so this year I plan to keep tab on my adventures using my blog. I will still write up a journal for my travels in Iran but everything else lends itself perfectly to online journaling.

I have no special plans, other than a holiday in Iran, but have lots of things that I would like to do in my time off. If I achieve some or all of them I will be well pleased. If I don’t, they can wait.

What’s on my “list?” Just a few ideas……..

  • Visit Richard IIIs burial place and museum in Leicester Cathedral.
  • Go and spend some time with my big sister and enjoy some “girlie time.”
  • I must go and have a cuddle with my newly-born great-nephew Sebastian. He looks gorgeous and I am so pleased for my niece and her husband that they now have the start of what will be a beautiful family.
  •  Lots of doggie walks with Jasper will get me out of the house and into the fresh air-as long as it’s not raining to hard!
  • I have an order list for patchwork quilts a mile long so I must spend some time sewing and sewing some more.
  • I’d like to decorate our landing and stairwell but it’s a big job. I need to prepare myself for this challenge!

Whatever I end up doing, I am determined to relax and recover from the stresses of the previous 8 months. I did have a spell of acute anxiety last Autumn which caused me some problems so I would like to avoid that if at all possible. Jasper is the chill-out king so I will be adopting some of his tactics. I’m not sure whether I will adopt the same pose, but after a few glasses of wine who knows?

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Here’s to sharing my 114 days of freedom!

A Patchwork of Quilts

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One of my favourite ways to relax is sewing and in particular making patchwork quilts.I started off when young making “hexies” (that’s hexagons to the non-patchers) and sewing them by hand into even bigger hexies to make a quilt, or more accurately, a throw.

I still sew quilts by hand, and I spent many happy hours on the train travelling to work and whilst sitting quietly when on holiday in Iran sewing triangles together. I find it soothing and relaxing with a purpose. Everything has to have a purpose so I might as well make it a pleasurable one with a finished article I can use myself or give away as a gift.

I have finished a few quilts over the past 12 months and I now have just two “on the go”. I have made the tops  and am now finishing them off by hand quilting them rather than put them through my sewing machine or sending them off to be quilted professionally.

I have a few in plastic wrappers, folded up and in drawers, just waiting for the right time and place to be used. It was whilst thinking about my stash of quilts that I began to wonder what a group of quilters is called. I love collective nouns and how interesting it is to see what others call these groups of seamstresses with a penchant for quilts.

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My favourite has to be the “Coven of stitches” but these also caught my eye; A Stash of quilters, a Comfort, a Hotbed, a Patchwork and another favourite, a Frolic! I understand that a Frolic of quilters is a group which comes together to sew a quilt for a particular purpose like an exhibition and the word Frolic summons up a wonderful picture of a group of quilters having fun whilst designing and working together to make an amazing cover.

At the moment I am in a Frolic of one whilst my Sewing Bee partner-in-crime recovers from a foot operation but when we get started again, I may suggest that we form a Frolic. It sounds crazy and fun. Just what the Doctor ordered!

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To carry on or to not carry on? That is the question.

026Over the past couple of months I have been wrestling with myself and wondering whether I should carry on writing under my Poppyposts title. For those who have been “with me” for a while know that Poppyposts was originally a Blog created to share my experiences of depression so the question now is whether to stop, or to carry on under a different banner. Not that my depression has dissipated. Not at all, but it appears that after 30+ years of living with my demons, they are here to stay and I have nothing more to add. The trouble is that I like the name Poppyposts! To me is signals hope and colour and life. I am reluctant to give it up without a fight.

I live with this illness for better or worse. I cope with the illness, well or otherwise and I take full responsibility for its impact on my work life, good or bad. In this I am like thousands of others who experience the same ups and downs; the positives and negatives; wanting to help, wanting to stay anonymous.

So I think I have come to the conclusion that I will continue to Blog, but not necessarily about my personal battles with depression and anxiety. This takes the pressure off a little-self-induced pressure undoubtedly-so that I can express my opinion on a particular matter, or just journal my hum-drum existence as I want to without wondering whether there is a purpose or an impact. I guess I was brought up to believe that everything has to have a purpose otherwise it is superfluous. If its not useful, its not worth doing. If you are not learning from the experience, dont do it.

If nothing else I am learning that I can do things and experience things just because. There doesn’t have to be a purpose. I can enjoy life without having to give it a mark out of 10.

So, I’m back. 3 1/2 stones lighter than I was! Not that Blog readers can see it but nevertheless the weight loss has had a huge impact on my life and how I live it which will undoubtedly flow through to my Blogs. I hope that I don’t become a Slimming World bore but I feel so much better, more alive, more capable and definitely look better, that perhaps my story will help to inspire others to take the same journey. Who knows?

 

 

 

114 days of Freedom

Freedom

I can’t believe that my last post was 3rd January. Where have those (almost) two months gone?

ActuallyI can tell you- January is my busiest month at work as a tax return reviewer. The UK tax return deadline is 31 January, and whilst many people say they will send us their information earlier, they never do so a large proportion get prepared, reviewed and submitted to good old HMRC in January. In fact, this year I was on “Midnight Duty” on Saturday 31 January and was still sorting out problems at 11.55pm!

So that was January. The first two weeks of February were spent tidying up loose ends before I started my 4-month break from work lasting until 8th June. A total of 114 days of freedom.

This is day 12 of aforementioned 114 and I am just starting to come round from a very busy period at work. I am on an annualised hours contract which, in simple terms, means that I work my butt off for 8 months during the busy time of the year, then have 4 months off during the quiet time. This works for the business and it sure works for me as it gives me an opportunity to recover my equilibrium and really relax properly for the first time ever in my working career. For someone who has periodic bouts of depression exacerbated by fatigue, this is an amazing arrangement and it’s a long time since I have felt so well mentally.

So far I have spent my time relaxing and being creative which is my natural bent but which I have to suppress during busy times as I just don’t have the time to indulge my inclinations. More about this in a later post.

In the meantime I am feeling much more communicative now that I have rested my brain and hope that I can resurrect my blog for at least the remainder of my “leave.”

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Can I make it a hat-trick?

After so long I can’t remember when, I have had two “good days” in a row. Two days when I haven’t been so tired that I need to hide in the ladies toilet for 10 minutes in the afternoon for a power nap; two days when I haven’t felt threatened or insecure; no panic or anxiety; I’ve even found myself laughing at some of the ridiculous things going on around me. I have spoken to some of my clients without the usual stomach-churning fear and stress, although I still experienced some anxiety and thought about postponing the afternoon call. I refused to give in to my scaredy-cat urges and triumphed by conducting the call successfully and with a satisfied client who wants me to quote for some additional work! 🙂

I am starting to believe that I can do this.

Happy-Days

Too tired

There is a very good reason Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is labelled as chronic. That’s because it is unceasing and relentless in its vicious and pervading attack on your physical and mental wellbeing. It is ever-present, long-lasting and, even if you are lucky enough to get a remission, it usually returns. With a vengeance. It is unwelcome and, like a bad penny, it keeps turning up despite your best attempts to fend it off.

If my fatigue and related symptoms were just a flash-in-the-pan, over and done with in a jiffy leaving me to return to normal energy levels within a few weeks or months it would be called Acute Fatigue Syndrome. But it’s not.

This time of year is particularly difficult for many people I’m sure with invitations to Christmas parties, meals out and shopping trips dripping from the calendar but if you are like me, you really don’t have the energy to spare on these “optional extras.”

The extra energy required to cope with overcrowded public transport and supermarkets, busy roads, presents to buy, cards to send and people to see is just too much and I therefore have to bow to my enforced lethargy and say “No, thanks”. It can be seen as Bah! Humbug, but so be it. The most frustrating aspect for me however is the assumption that after months of being “in recovery” I should be “better” now and able to join in the merriment along with everyone else.

Sadly, this is not the case and my “recovery” will continue for many months and years. There is no quick remedy for CFS. It is an illness that must be managed constantly if a relapse or crash is to be avoided. Most people don’t understand this and look at you as if you have turned into a Couch Potato by choice. I can’t imagine anything worse and the frustration that being so inactive brings cannot be described. I could get really angry about it but that would waste yet more precious energy so I try to accept my new limitations with good grace. This has never been a strong point of mine so I am on a steep learning curve.

All I want this Christmas is to step aside from extra activity and stress, to avoid being out of routine and being late to bed and to spend the few days that I have off work with my family and not tucked up in bed exhausted by the build-up of extra effort.

So if I say “No thanks” to the department Christmas outing, the office Christmas meal, drinks on the last day before the holiday and anything else in-between, please don’t think I am unwilling, uncaring, selfish, lazy or unsociable.

I’m just too tired-really.

Honesty-friend or foe?

I haven’t had the energy to Blog recently. I am trying to save this precious commodity to continue as normal a life as possible and it seems to be working. There will be good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, but I see now that a combination and balance of activity and rest is the only way forward. I’m happy with that and am prepared to work at it to make it a success.

So much has happened in the 2 months since I last wrote here, and most importantly I have learned so much. Not so much about me, but about what others think of me. I have learnt what is important to me, who is important and who I trust. This has been quite interesting as a couple of people are clearly not who I thought they were and I am pleased, nay, relieved that they are no longer part of my life. Negative, unfulfilled, shallow, under-achieving and self-deceiving people are hard to accommodate. They bring misery and doubt to everyone they associate with. Some people just refuse to take responsibility for their own mistakes and errors of judgement yet still profess to be worthy of public trust and faith. Too many people think that they can behave as they wish, say “sorry” and move on regardless. They are happy to “blame” organisations, institutions, employers and anyone but themselves for their plight. Sad. If you can’t admit your failings to yourself and use it as a learning experience incorporating self-awareness it is going to be difficult to recover. Honesty is paramount. If you can’t be honest with yourself, your life is a sham, built on sand and no amount of blown vinyl will cover the cracks.

I am lucky. I live in an environment where honesty is admired and encouraged. We don’t judge. We discuss issues that arise with the sole aim of finding a solution. We try to learn from the experiences that life throws at us whatever they may be.

It is not easy to reach this position but it can be done.

I wish that more would do the same.

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