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.

A good day

Yesterday was a much better day at work. I felt a bit fragile and emotional because the pregnant teacher and head of dept were giggling about her baby bump. She’s showing a lot more, and for some stupid reason, I just don’t know where to look when people talk about it. But I’m still trying really hard to redirect my thoughts to myself, and the action that my husband and I need to take to get to where we want to be. I’m doing quite well at that, I think. Having said that, my brain is trying to have silly, anxious thoughts about what my colleagues think of me. A and I were talking about the new supply teacher, who seemed very anxious. I compared this to myself – I admitted I’m an anxious person, but I didn’t think I made other people feel anxious by being anxious myself, as this supply teacher does. He said ‘oh yes, you were very nervous when you started here’. Yes I know. But  I wasn’t immobilised by fear, I’m certain of that. I remember deciding to smile, say yes a lot, and be friendly all the time, and worry about what the hell I was doing later. It was a good strategy, I think! But now I’m worrying that I looked like a total idiot.

No, no. I can’t allow myself to think like this. I worked in a supermarket for 10+ years, completely away from my academic background of science. Then I got this job, where there was no-one doing the job to train me. So I picked it all up along the way. Even when the second technician joined a few weeks later, she’d never done the job either. I’m really proud of how I’ve progressed and what I can do now. Dammit, who bloody cares if I was nervous to start with!! This just goes to show that sobriety is absolutely the way forward for me, as my mind definitely tends towards anxiety, and drinking would only add to that.

So to continue with the story…N and I swapped activities for the day – there was an experiment coming up which meant she could put into practice the skills she learned on a recent training course, and I explained I really needed some practice using the spreadsheet. So instead of doing what we both found easiest (she is so good on the computer I am rather intimidated), we worked on areas we needed to improve. Win/win!

It’s been a good day today. I slept in late (Mr had a fire call, so I was awake for a couple of hours early morning), then did a couple of loads of laundry. Walked to the post office, then did a detour on the way home, along the reservoir and through the woods. The birds were singing, it was lovely. I planted more seeds in the greenhouse, then had a bath, and made curry for tea afterwards.

It’s late now, husband is out at the pub and I’m going to have one more AF drink then go to bed. He said earlier he’d like to go out, and I thought oh no, I hope he’s not going to try to make me go with him and ‘just have one drink’. But no, I told him he should go if he wanted to and he said ‘can I?’. I don’t feel I’m missing out at all, and I’m so glad he’s doing what he wants and I’m doing what I want. Another win/win:)

 

 

Overwhelm? Lists.

I had a little cry on my own today at work. The teacher who’s pregnant is really showing now. She was saying that the kids asked her about it today, and people are just generally talking about it more. I’m envious. It’s hard to change the way I feel, so I tried to change my focus instead. We have a plan, my husband I. Some days it feels like a long time until things get properly moving, but realistically, we need to be getting ourselves prepared for this. So I concentrated on thinking about our next steps – what needs to happen for me, now? What action do I need to take? it seemed to work – I have more control over what happens to me at this point, than I ever will over what is happening to someone else.

The thing is, though, I want to strike the right balance between getting things done and avoiding overwhelm. Because I know I’m more likely to drink if I wind myself up too tightly. For example, amongst other things, Husband told me yesterday that we (I) really do need to get a new (used) car. It has been on the cards for a while, and now it’s passed it’s MOT now would be a good time to sell before it loses any more value. So I’ve started down this whole ‘I need to sell all my worldly possessions’ train of thought, to be able to pay for a new car. Or at least put something down as a deposit.

I spoke to my other colleague, N, about some of this and she said, ‘do you make lists?’. I said yes, but I don’t want the to-do list ruling my every waking moment. But she pointed out the benefits of getting everything down on paper to clear the mind. Yes! I need this! I need a clear mind!! I also realised that a list had worked well for me over the holidays – I seemed to be in an optimal frame of mind for tackling it. I have asked Belle about determining this fine line between achieving and obsessing, and I look forward to her take on it as she often talks about overwhelm.

Other news: last night I swapped the winter duvet for the summer one, which made for a MUCH more comfortable night!…Went for another walk – only a short one – this evening. The sun was shining, it was lovely…And I’m looking forward to a good day at work tomorrow – I came across some software on the internet which I’m excited to share with N. I see lots of cataloguing inventory in our future. Mm, lists. That department WILL be organised if it’s the  last thing I do.

It’s day 5 and I’m happy 🙂 I hope you guys are too xx

It’s time to try harder

So today is day one. It’s time I stopped caving in on day 5 or 6. This is more important, and deserves more than the half-hearted effort I have been making.

Even though I’ve essentially been moderating and only drinking at weekends, this pattern has begun to affect me, possibly as much as if I was having wine every night. I’ve noticed self-care routines get pushed to one side, and even if it is only for a couple of days, there is a definite knock-on effect for the rest of the week. And I am in serious need of self-care at the moment. I’ve read a few posts lately from longer term sober bloggers, and I realise I want to be there again. I know it brought more fears of not fitting in for me last time, but I don’t fit in anywhere at all now anyway. So that shouldn’t make a difference.

Along similar lines to not fitting in… It’s Mother’s day today. Mr W and I are going to his mum’s, then over to my sister’s with all of my family for food later on. It feels like it’s going to be a long day, and maybe a day of putting a brave face on everything. Again.

And when I get back to work tomorrow, I’m dreading the ‘how was your weekend?’ questions. Especially since Friday was a snow day, and especially since it is Mother’s day. I know people just want to make conversation, but I feel like my life is so nothing that I never have anything positive to say, and would rather just get on with keeping my brave face in tact, get on with work.

And then there are other peoples responses…after this weekend obviously they will be talking about what they have done with their kids. This ‘brave face’ is so hard to keep up. The thought of having to act normal around everyone both today and tomorrow is so tiring and it’s making me cry.

Half an hour later...

I’m sorry if this makes me sound bitter and depressed. I’m just finding it really hard at the moment. One day at a time might help me here… Even one hour at a time. I can get through it. I will.

Things that make me feel better #1

I went back to work after the half term holiday yesterday and I think being busy has helped me feel better. It’s still a little odd, knowing that my colleague is pregnant. I don’t think many other people know – she is waiting until the first scan. I think I saw her with a green form (to book the time off work) today. So it could be soon. I’m hoping so much that people will keep it low key and not refer to it constantly in front of me…

I feel strangely wooden around her. She has always tended to be business-like, and can seem a little bit rude if you don’t know her well. Maybe its just that side of her that I’m picking up on too much, feeling too vulnerable. I’m trying not to dwell on it though. Our stories are different, it just can’t be helped.

I’ve also decided a couple of things in the last few days.

1. Mr W and I want to do IVF. Although he is getting used to the idea in his own way. I’ve learned that he operates completely differently to me when it comes to emotions and reasoning. Whereas we can pre-empt each other’s thoughts and take the words right out of each other’s mouths because our minds work the same way to a certain extent, I know that I need to be patient and not demand a ‘yes I totally agree with you and I’ll do exactly what you want’ right this minute. It may be an age thing as well as a gender thing – he is 16 years older than me, and while it doesn’t matter one jot, it can make a big difference. So basically (yes I’m getting to point number 1…honestly!…) I DON’T CARE what anyone else thinks about that. It’s completely up to us, and if anyone disapproves, they can fly off because it’s none of their business.

2. I have no idea what is possible, considering the extent of my endometriosis. All I know is, I get my first GNRH injection tomorrow at 16:30 – the start of the second phase, if you like, of treating the condition. There are six injections, four weeks apart. As I mentioned, I think I may need further surgery before IVF could even be an option, and I don’t know when that could happen. I am taking steps to find out. In the mean time, I need to live my life – not just try to get though the day. Six months – at least – of waiting before anything can start at all. So I need to get on with living. I want to feel better than I did last week.

As far as number 2 goes, there are a few things I can try. I’ve started doing a couple of (tiny) things differently, and I might post about them soon (hence the optimistic ‘#1’ in the title) but for now, I wanted to share this: I was looking on my phone for Belle’s Sober Jumpstart audios, the first five days from when I began my big sober stretch. I found Mystic Cord of Memory by Michael Bernard Beckwith, that I downloaded a few years ago. I stumbled across it, like I do with most things on the internet, whilst looking at something else entirely (art journaling, which I don’t do anymore). It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find it really calming and full of positive energy. The only link could find was this one for an Effy Wild video on YouTube. If you’re not into the art, just listen. I think you might like it 🙂

 

 

 

it’s all I think about

The last week or so has been hard. I didn’t manage to stay sober. I emailed Belle and said I couldn’t do the 100 days at the moment. I have too much on my mind. It seems like infertility is all I think about these days.

I wonder about starting a different blog about infertility specifically, but I haven’t decided yet. I will need to be sober again, so I’m going to continue this blog anyway…

We saw my consultant the other week. He said I had the worst case of endometriosis he has seen in his career. That was a shock – especially because I didn’t think I had any symptoms. Anyway, neither of my fallopian tubes are functional. Also, because my husband has children from a previous marriage, the NHS will not fund any IVF treatment. I had previously thought that if his operation had worked, that we would have been eligible for IVF on the NHS because of my condition. However, the reversal didn’t work anyway, so I guess that’s a moot point now.

Then this week, we went to see Mr W’s surgeon, who explained to us that his operation failed due to complications further up the tubes – not because they failed to join properly. He also scared the living daylights out of me in terms of the success rates of IVF in relation to age. I’m about to start the GNRH Analogue treatment, which will ‘shut down’ my reproductive system temporarily, in order to slow down the endometriosis. I’m told that this treatment does improve the chances of success with IVF, so that’s good. But I’ve been worrying about possible further surgery that I may need before IVF. I think the tubes need to be removed if they are damaged, plus I have a fibroid of around 2cm. Will I be able to have these procedures on the NHS?? I have requested an appointment with my consultant to ask if I can be put on a waiting list now for these procedures (if at all?!) as I know it will involve waiting. And I want to be ready to start IVF as soon as possible after the hormone treatment finishes.

God, I sound like a crazy woman, I know. I mean, we haven’t even got any money sorted out for any treatment. My sister says she’s sure that my parents will help us out. But we haven’t had the conversation yet. I was telling Mr W’s stepmum where we were up to with everything on the phone the other night, and I could just hear the disapproval in her voice. ‘oooohhh, that’s very expensive, isn’t it?’ she said. I’m probably jumping to conclusions but it feels as though she thinks we shouldn’t even try IVF, and that I should just deal with the fact that me and Mr W are infertile.

I think I’m using wine at the moment to try to shut down all these crazy thoughts. I know that’s destructive and not the answer. Hopefully soon I will be able to gather myself back together and try sobriety again.

 

 

 

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?