I can stop holding my breath

Thank you for the¬† comments on my last post, I really do appreciate all of your support ūüôā

I have good news. I spoke to our friend’s partner this morning – he was on his way back to the hospital. Thankfully, it looks as though she is going to be OK. She was out of bed and walking a little this morning, and they’re just waiting for a bed to become available on the ward so that she can be moved from intensive care. They’ll be doing an assessment next week to determine what treatment she’ll need. I’m so relieved… It must have been terrifying for her family.

I also have more good news…at work on Friday I did my normal routine of taking my phone out of my bag and taking it off silent, putting it in my pocket. I was doing this partly so that I would be immediately aware of any updates on our friend, but also because it has become my little ritual, hoping for a phone call about my surgery. Well, what do you know, it actually rang! The words ‘private number’ made my heart race a little bit, and I recognised the voice of the lady from the booking department straight away, as I’ve rung up about three times during this almost six month wait. She said she had two dates available – the first was a very last minute 3rd October! Monday! I said I would love to have that one but it’s not really fair to my work colleague, to drop everything at such short notice,¬†and so I’ve got 26th October. I’VE GOT A DATE!!! AT LAST!!!¬†It arrived in writing this morning ūüôā

I’m feeling¬†motivated to¬†improve my¬†health before surgery. This time I have a huge advantage in that I’m not ill like I was last time, prior to the operation. I’m well, and I want to do all I can to be ready. I can now see what is hopefully¬†the ‘beginning’ of the process, and it feels a lot more tangible¬†compared to the aimless waiting. There are a few things like yoga and meditation that I’ve been wanting to try, so this will be the incentive I’ve been lacking.¬†I am (but trying not to be) a little bit excited!

Oh yes and it’s day 20 today ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to be happy

For some reason I’m starting to remember snippets of my dreams again. I haven’t remembered dreams for months, years even. Although the drinking dreams used to come up now and again. Anyway, last night I remember talking to someone in my dream, and I was telling them I knew how to be happy. “You carry it around inside you”, I said. Meaning, it’s not what happens to you¬† that counts, its¬†how you determine yourself to be, on the inside.¬†Oddly, I wasn’t coming from the perspective of being happy, but just knowing how. Bizarre.

At the same time I was talking about my ideas, literally as I was still talking, I was aware of someone – a girl – by the side of me, who was telling anyone who would listen, she thought there was another way. It was kind of like, when you’re talking in a group of people, and there’s some talk across people, breaking off into other little discussions. But I could still hear. She was saying “You have to go out into the world and give it to people…” and the unsaid part was ….then you will feel it yourself.

Now, where all of this came from I have no idea. I mean, I have had a rocky couple of weeks. Last week I fell into¬†a depression, which I might talk about later. It has started to turn around, but there’s a long way to go (isn’t there bloody always with me).

I know that being happy for me involves quitting alcohol. I don’t know how the rest of life should go. No idea. I think I like to be on my own; that’s bad for me…too much negative thinking (who knew). I fit in with only a very tiny amount of people, and don’t feel comfortable being with those I know less well. I feel less than, not good enough, like I don’t measure up.

I find it very hard to put down all the negativity, even though I would love to be able to walk out of my life as it is, and into a positive and fulfilling one. Infertility has complicated things, and added to the barriers that I feel between me and other people (barriers that may or may not actually exist).

I’ve decided that instead of counting days quite so much, waiting for them to stack up to some magic number,¬†I’d be better off spending my sober time trying to get to the bottom of all this. Why do I feel so judged by other people? Do I think they are so different from me? Why don’t I have the confidence to find ‘my people’ if I (sometimes) crave the type of recognition and belonging that brings?

And on the darker days, the one I really struggle with is If I don’t find solutions¬†to all of the above pretty quickly, and if I ultimately fail in my efforts to become a mother…How will I know I have a place in the world?

Sorry to end on such a negative note, I just need to get it all out there.

This time

I haven’t written in a while. I felt a bit trapped into inertia by the fact that a) I have been drinking and b) I wanted to write about infertility issues, but haven’t started a separate blog. I don’t really want to either, and yet I don’t want people to be bored by the¬†infertility stuff, so¬†I’m going to¬†borrow an idea and title my infertility posts to mark them out as distinct from the sobriety ones.

I’ve started again – day two today – for numerous reasons. It’s not that I was drinking every night or anything, but when I did drink over the past couple of weeks, there was less and less enjoyment (any at all? I’m not sure), and more and more haziness in my brain generally.

I had an argument with Husband last week, which got to the root of a few issues which was good,¬†but at the time, he basically said he misses going out drinking with me. I’m sort of blaming that for my stopping at 10 days again and having a drink, even though I thought it was unfair of him to say things like that, and I was trying to convince him of the benefits of me being sober. Anyway, as I said, I’ve been drinking on and off since then, and I’ve noticed a few things.

I don’t actually enjoy drinking wine. The idea of drinking is great, I mean, a friend of Mr Ws has said a similar thing; wouldn’t it be great if they all tasted like the first one? But they don’t. I was reading Belle’s first month of blog posts in bed this morning, and one of the comments went something like; I think I would like to stop drinking before I have three glasses. But by the time I actually reach the third glass, I’ve had two already, and so my brain can’t choose whether or not to have the third glass without being under the influence of the first two.

But when I actually drink, I can even feel a part of my brain going, ‘this is ridiculous, after the first one it’s not that great, I’m feeling fuzzy and useless and I need to stop’. But there’s this other part, the part that’s under the influence (Wolfie?) that steamrollers over everything else and says I should just keep going. And generally, I do.

As I said, it hasn’t been every night. I have stayed sober when I have Things To Do the next morning. But I don’t like the way that the compulsion to drink seems to be increasing. With no benefit at all when I do drink. As in, I can’t really work out why I’m having a drink whilst I’m drinking, it’s just for its own sake. And then the next day, and even in-between days sometimes, I feel sluggish, or start thinking about drinking far too much.

This time I need to find those sober supports again, and work out how I got myself to 400 days last September. I’ve emailed Belle to start Team 100 again, and I told my husband my intention, explaining why. He high fived me, so that’s a good start – I can count on him for support, rather than him¬†telling me it’s OK just to have one.

Day two feels like such a tiny number, and 100 such a huge one. But it’s nice to be here ūüôā

 

Things that make me feel better #2

Sunday night, I’ve made it through the weekend sober! I did have some cravings, although they weren’t bad. And I really made an effort with self care, so I’m feeling pretty good.
This afternoon I spent some time gardening as the weather was so good. I planted loads of seeds, did some weeding and generally tidied up. I had been worrying about some tiny little things going on at work, really winding myself up, but after an hour or so of being outside, I felt so much better. So gardening is number 2 on the list of things that make me feel better.
However…There is also something slightly triggery about working in the garden on a lovely warm day. But that feeling didn’t last long, and I feel great about reaching day 8.
Also feeling a bit more positive on the infertility front. I think the hormones have settled down (about time!), and I’m keen to talk to the consultant a week on Tuesday about what I need to do to be ivf ready. I really hope it’s a possibility for me…I worry that when we eventually do get to a fertility clinic, they’ll say the damage is too great and it won’t work.
But that’s not the way to approach this…I’m working on turning the negativity around – and there are plenty of bloggers out there who are inspiring me. I’m going to borrow a quote – ‘be the change you want to see in the world’. ‚ėļ

Day 401 – have I done enough?

Warning – this post may be triggering!

I am currently in a really strange frame of mind. Generally, things have been good recently – Mr W had the operation, and I felt a huge sense of relief. Even though we don’t know for sure whether it has been successful yet, and even if it is, we still might not be able to conceive. But I feel we have done what we set out to do and there is more to be hopeful about than afraid of.

Other news – a gathering at a friend’s on Monday was lovely, lots of kids around, and I think I’m doing slightly better all the time in that area. The house is coming along, I’m trying to decide whether to ask the builder to finish our patio as well and just stick the bill on a credit card. I’m not normally prone to running up credit card bills, but it’s something that would take us ages to do and I’m less able to put up with these things not being completed now, for some reason(?). You only live once, right? I want to enjoy my home in a state of completeness, not with a big square of mud outside the back door!!

But the reason I’m in an odd state of mind is to do with sobriety. At least it feels that way to me. I know people would tell me that I’m not reaching out for support enough, I’m not asking for help, I should be going to meetings etc.

It’s not that I’m really craving a drink. And I know I can do events sober – I’ve been through family bereavement, a funeral, a wedding, a children’s birthday party, carnival day, a couple of (admittedly very short) holidays. I’ve done a Christmas, and New Year, although I did stay home on New Years Eve. I’ve been to countless family meals out, a birthday party, done hot summer days, cosy winter evenings, all of it – all 401 days – sober. I know that I can.

I’m just not sure whether I want to be that person anymore, whether I need to be quite so strict about not drinking. I know people try moderating and fail, and I’m conscious that that’s a problem too. But since Mr W had his operation I’ve felt like I might want to re-join the world of ‘normies’. Maybe I’m asking ‘have I done enough’. Have I? Or can I literally never drink again? This whole journey started off with me signing up to do 100 days, I really wasn’t looking far beyond that. At all. I just focused on one day at a time and I reached that goal. Then I realised 100 days wasn’t enough. I hadn’t found whatever I’d been searching for so I carried on. And on… and here I am. I feel calmer, and yet life is in such high definition – constantly – that I can feel on edge. It’s all very stark, which I can cope with…but whereas I would normally just want to escape into self care, this feeling has coincided with a desire to return to ‘normality’.

I would like to have a drink. But I also think I may have ruined it for myself. I’m now agonising slightly because I know it would be such a huge thing to break hundreds of days. So I may not even enjoy it in the end, perhaps the guilt would be too great?! On the other hand (oh my God this is painful – are you irritated now because I’m irritating MYSELF!) I don’t know that adding up more and more days has the same effect as it used to, and maybe I’m even starting to feel overwhelmed as the number increases.

Either way, I don’t want it to be such a ‘big thing’ anymore. And I am aware on some level, that I am the one who is creating this ‘big thing’. No one else gives a rats ass. Drink or stay sober, no one is bothered, it’s up to me. And that’s the tricky part. Being sober is so great. It really is, it has done wonders for me. I have really benefitted from this past year, and found out so much about myself. I would not have changed one single minute of it. But… Oh I don’t know.

This is when posting on a blog called ‘waking up, being sober’ gets a bit confusing, I know. It’s not the ideal thing to be sharing. Then again, there might be someone out there who has been through a similar experience. I know of one blogger at least who has gone back ‘out there’. Does anyone have any thoughts?

A well-documented sober slump

I emailed Belle the other day, to ask whether anyone else ever said that month seven feels like month one. She replied that yes, there is a well documented sober slump between month 6.5 and 8.5. Then at 8.5 when you can see your year on the horizon, it becomes easier again. Ahhhh….

The thing is, I do remember reading about this a while back. I’d just forgotten it because at the time I thought ‘oh that’s such a long way off, it doesn’t really apply to me’. So I shoved it to the back of my mind. But hey, look where I am! I’m suddenly delighted that I’ve made it to the sober slump – if that makes sense?! Back then it seemed so far in the future that I need not concern myself with it. But I’m actually there. Quite an achievement I think!

Discovering that things will get better fairly soon is also a bonus. I’m so looking forward to finding out what that looks like.

Hope everyone is having a good sober Wednesday! ūüôā

Split personality

According to my day counter I’m at 223 days. I am as changeable as the weather. One minute, quitting sugar seems like a good idea, but I’ve just stuffed my face with profiteroles. I feel generally low, but this afternoon I was suddenly moved to clean the house. It makes such a difference when everywhere is clean and fresh. Perhaps I need my insides to be clean and fresh, too (see quitting sugar!). I enjoyed seeing my friend yesterday but it hurt because her baby is now 3 months old. Seeing her so much more awake and aware made me want my own even more. But I have plans formulating in my mind. I have moments of joy in the midst of disappointment in myself.

I read Belle’s Month Seven again (must find Month Eight), and I recognised a sense of stripping back and then re-assembling. I can see the next few weeks and months ahead of me and I know what I need to do and when. We have some goals: Convert the loft into a bedroom and replace the windows at the front of the house. Go to Paris for two or three nights. Buy a new (used) car. Find a fertility hospital where Mr W will go for the reversal operation. If I can just keep hold of a normal amount of perspective, life is full of possibility ūüôā

Wolfie has been sniffing around though, for the first time in AGES. I think he can sense my flip-flopping from negative to positive and back, and he’s trying to find a way in. I haven’t been posting as much on here either, or writing in a journal of any sort. The sober supports need ramping up, obviously. I could even email Belle and ask her for any tips on sightseeing in Paris whilst I’m at it!

Am I a perfectionist?

A few weeks ago I was saying how great I was feeling, and what I was doing that I thought might be contributing to that good feeling…Guess what I went and did? You’ve got it – self-sabotage.
Why? I’m not entirely sure. I stopped working out. A couple of days without because of a disrupted routine, to start with, and then I just never got going again. The green juicing got more infrequent, and I felt more and more lethargic. And I felt more and more low.

So when the Tapping World Summit started, I decided to have a listen. And I seem to have stumbled across some feelings about the past that I was unaware I’d been carrying around until now. I listened to the Tapping interview with Carol Look on perfectionism, which really struck a chord with me. I could relate to the lethargy (see above!) and hopelessness she describes as being a symptom of perfectionism. My negative self-talk is constant and sometimes overwhelming (apart from when I was feeling good and wrote that post!), and leaves me anxious and exhausted. When it came to the section of the interview about discovering where we pick up these ideas that everything has to be done to these impossibly high standards, she said she would always suggest that people go back to their childhood, and ask themselves what messages came from their parents.

I thought about this, and although I don’t have any idea where I got this tendency towards perfectionism, something Carol Look said about childhood events also made me really think. She said that we fear that if we’re not perfect, everything will fall apart, and it will be a disaster. Now, a disaster to you or me would probably be something like breaking a limb maybe, or losing your job (extreme, but you get the picture). But as children, we might have been affected to a similar extent by something a lot less extreme, such as a look from our parents, being told off in a certain way, or some other action on their part. I started to think of several, seemingly insignificant things that happened to my childhood self….

I’m still not entirely sure how the whole picture fits together, but the issue of having children of my own feels somehow related. This morning, my husband asked me if I would mind if, in the next couple of years, he was to buy an expensive item relating to his hobby. We got onto the subject of money, and where priorities would lie if we manage to have children, and then wandered away from the money side of things. I said that I get afraid sometimes, that we might have left it too late – that he might be too old for it. After calling me a cheeky so and so, and telling me to go and stand in the garden ūüėČ he said no we hadn’t left it too late at all. ‘Plenty of women have babies into their forties. Look at you – your mum was 40 when she had you’… And I said ‘EXACLTY! Look at how I’ve turned out!!!’

I can remember all these little instances when I felt like a nuisance, an irritation, I did something really wrong and was told off, and that ultimately my mum would rather have been doing something else than looking after me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, she loves me very much – I’m very lucky to have two parents who love me. I had a very secure upbringing. It’s just that listening to what Carol Look was saying in the interview, about the scale of the ‘disaster’ we experience as children really resonated all of a sudden. And then I saw it again this afternoon whilst reading Brene Brown’s ‘I thought it was just me’. She describes the work or Dr Uram at The Meadows, a trauma and addiction treatment facility;

‘Dr. Uram points out that we tend not to recognise the small, quiet traumas that often trigger the same brain-survival reaction [primal fight, flight and freeze responses]…I believe it’s possible that many of our early shame experiences, especially with parents and caregivers, were stored in our brains as traumas’.

My dad was often out at work throughout the day, and meetings at night, so it was just me and mum a lot of the time – or at least it felt that way to me. I remember once, when Mum had told me off for something – it must have been particularly badly because I can still feel how distraught I was, now – I desperately needed comforting, and I hugged her because there was no one else. I know that’s not really a big thing in the grand scheme of things, but to my little girl self it must have been pretty bad.

So I want to (if I’m lucky enough) make sure that my child NEVER feels unwanted or a nuisance, but a part of me worries, ‘what if I end up being just like my mum was with me?!’.

Our stories are different though. I was a surprise(!), and when she had me, my mum had already had two children, one of whom had already left home (and would later drop out of college, no doubt causing my parents a lot of worry). So my Parents had thought that my brother and sister were going to be their only children, before I came along. My mum therefore hadn’t been intending to spend the next however many years of her life caring for another child. I know that she had been bewildered, and even resentful when she and Dad first got married. She hadn’t realised it how it would be. It was the early sixties and Dad went to work whilst she was left with the kids at home. I think it was difficult for her to cope with the inequality of the situation – which must have been echoed in young married couples’ homes everywhere I guess. So yes, my situation is different – a lot different.

Back to the perfectionism. I’m also starting to wonder if that has an impact on how I handle being around other peoples babies. Am I just jealous, or am I terrified that I’ll be judged if I don’t ‘do it right’. I know I worry about being less of a woman because I don’t have children. I mean, I know there are a lot of us out there (and I really could do with hanging out with someone in the same boat!), and I shouldn’t feel this way, but it’s hard not to feel in some way inadequate. But that’s also part of the issue of my own self-worth….

I know, I know, I think far too much. My thoughts are relentless and unforgiving, but sometimes I can’t do anything other than go through the process of actually thinking them, and letting everything bubble up and escape. Otherwise I would go mad! (Perhaps I already am!)

But at least I do not drink. Sobriety is helping me get to the bottom of all this stuff, I know it. There is a point to going to these places in my mind. Like they say in the tapping interviews, we need to go to the root of the feeling before we can begin to clear whatever is blocked, and heal ourselves in order to change. I had better start tapping….

An extended low

This horrible low feeling doesn’t seem to be shifting.

I feel fragile, and keep getting upset when the tiniest of things sets off a chain of associations in my mind, ending with some version of ‘I’m alone’. Something feels wrong and I don’t know what it is.

Try as I might, I can’t communicate any of this to my husband. His standard response is that I over-think things too much. Which may well be true, but in saying that, he is rejecting my feelings, which is also lonely. He asked me this morning if I had talked to my counsellor about what I was trying (and failing) to tell him. I said ‘yes, but I don’t live with her, I live with you!’

Maybe that’s the problem… I feel lonely because I have no-one who can really listen to how I feel? I have a need for deep connection with people, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (as in, the vast majority of our mutual friends), and it takes time and effort to maintain.

Because I don’t have that connection at the moment, perhaps I’m looking to the wrong person for support. I would like Mr W to be able to provide that for me, but I know he’s not that sort of person. His way of thinking is so much lighter than mine. And anything darker and deeper than the day-to-day, well, he keeps it all hidden.

It worries me that we are like this – like polar opposites. I thought that once we were married, and we’d made that lifetime commitment, that we would try to understand each other and support each other. And after I stopped drinking to swerve an oncoming meltdown, we did for a while…

Why do I feel so alone?

Sober plateau?

On Saturday night I went out for a meal with my husband and good friends of ours. Beforehand I was still anxious about not being committed to a ‘challenge’, as I haven’t signed up for 180 days yet. I thought I might have been in danger of drinking.

But it was an unfounded fear, because I didn’t suddenly want wine – even when we went to the pub whilst waiting for our table. What I did find really difficult, as we were standing at the bar, was having to explain myself because I asked for a coke. AGAIN.

It may have been my own fault, for relying too heavily on the ‘100 day challenge’ explanation originally. (What IS that all about? I obviously have great difficulty telling anyone, including myself, that I just don’t drink!!).

It was mainly the woman of the couple we were out with, who was asking me why I wasn’t drinking. And she told me again that she doesn’t drink through the week. We were going over old ground, really.

Much later, after the meal, we went to another pub. Another of our friends saw that I was drinking coke and said ‘so you won’t be falling over tonight then?’ and I said nope, I was on coke, and she said ‘Oh how boring!’. She’d had a few herself, though so I don’t think she was actually trying to tell me I was boring, it was probably just because I clearly wouldn’t be joining in all the drunken fun.

Being out with all those people drinking was strange. Not because I wanted to drink, in the end, but because I didn’t see the appeal of it all. I couldn’t make myself heard over the music, so trying to have a conversation was a bit pointless. I just felt really out on a limb, to be honest.

The next day, I was wiped out. I felt low because it’s the wrong time of the month, which led to me brooding over the previous night. I didn’t feel very much connection – apart from in the restaurant maybe – with anyone. I’m feeling a bit lonely in my sober journey. I want to find my people. I have two, maybe three friends with whom I can talk about this kind of thing completely honestly, but I hardly ever see them. I guess there’s my answer – I need to create more connection with them.

I do feel good sober, but I’m also feeling a bit flat. If I was on a diet, this would be a ‘plateau’!

There are some social situations I don’t really want to be part of anymore, and I want to replace those with ones that resonate more with me. How to do that? This is all new, lonely, and a bit scary…. :/