Monday, 29 January 2018

Money and Exhaustion

Today I spent the day crying…

The final straw that started it was a letter from Tax Credits saying they were reducing our money by £50p/w as we had underestimated our 2017 income by £1000. With that I cancelled my small monthly donation to Water Aid and my organic food order from Riverford, as I simply couldn’t afford to buy organic for a while. And then I cried.

We are down to the basics as it is. I don’t spend money on things that they even allow as expenses for working out your monthly budget when in debt!… 

I don’t buy alcohol or junk food, don’t buy cigarettes or e-cigs, don’t pay for a take away or eating out (except maybe for birthdays!)
I don’t buy coffee or other drinks when out (I bring a warm drink in a flask or drink free tap water) Don’t have expensive day’s out, or even many day’s out.
I don’t go to watch sports, or the theatre, or concerts, or go to the cinema – although we very occasionally have an educational trip out as our only school aged child is Home Educated.
We also don’t pay out for school uniform, school dinners or school trips. 
Nor pay pocket money. 
I haven’t been to the hairdresser in months as I mainly cut my kids, husband's and my own hair.
I can’t afford the gym, 
or to even go swimming
Nor buy lottery tickets, newspapers or magazines.
My mobile phone bill is about £10 per 3 months.
I don’t pay for Sky or cable TV.
nor pay for any website subscriptions. 
I don’t have manicures or pedicures. 
Barely buy makeup (and when I do it’s with birthday money!)
Stick to the same car and don’t care as long as it works.
Can’t afford holidays or weekends away…
I didn’t even bother with Christmas presents last year. 

With my money I choose to buy organic foods for both my and my family’s health, support the environment and use Riverford as it’s an ethical food cooperative- where no one gets a fat cat salary.

But I can’t.

I can’t work, I can barely keep the house organised and Dave still cooks most of our dinners as half the time when I do I am crying from the fact I can no longer multitask, or that I am exhausted for doing so. I often still need to go to sleep or rest during the day, especially if I get up before 10 (and sometimes even if I get up after this!) … I cannot see an employer accepting this as an option?!

The last few weeks I have been trying to add my art work on my website, promote it and my book a little and try and be proactive in earning myself an income. But after a week or so of this I crashed. 

Yet at the thought of Dave even possibly having to get a ‘job’ (rather than be self-employed) to support us (its amazing how many people go when you are not there for them 24/7 and so many clients have disappeared since 2016) I tried to do a bit extra and cook dinner and try and keep the house more tidy, I just felt like I was drowning in it…

Then a week or so ago my back went, I sneezed sitting down and it started seizing up. Just as I was looking at our finances- umm and they say lower back issues are lack of (financial) support… 

I didn’t listen to my body shouting at me to rest and kept going on. After all it was Dave’s 50th Birthday and he was having a gig to celebrate.


But thinking about it now I was getting messages loud and clear to slow. The day my back went I managed to leave the kitchen hot plate on while boiling butter beans and went out! Dave called me half an hour later saying he walked into a kitchen full of smoke with a rather smelly black saucepan! I had totally forgotten to turn them off or turn them down and tell him to turn them off in a while. 

I managed to be distracted when I went out for Dave’s birthday, and all but drove off with the car door open and someone not even in the car…  And I know the last couple of weeks I have been really struggling for words. 

I have constantly done things like calling the spaghetti bolognaise ‘Yorkshire pudding’ instead, and almost every appliance in the house the wrong name. (One day someone will put the dishes in the washing machine!) Forgotten things totally, said sentences completely wrong.

So after a late night on Friday- I crashed. I was exhausted. I couldn’t do a thing all day and went back to sleep for a couple of hours on the sofa. The next day, despite getting up at 11am, I briefly used the outdoor gym and felt my body had turned to jelly and needed another sleep by 3pm! 

I had wanted to go out, but I was far too exhausted and unable to think, let alone speak straight that I knew I couldn’t. I went to bed for the night at 10pm with definite brain fog. I didn’t wake until 10.30 today and felt like the fog had lifted a little…

But then the tax credits letter hit the kitchen table. I cried the lap of the park walking the dog and whilst that usually clears away my emotions I just couldn’t stop even when I got back in.  

How can I earn money if the minute I do anything more than ‘normal’ I just crash after- totally shattered?

I want to do something worthwhile for others, but it has to be when I am able to. I have to accept this as it cannot be another way.



Brain fog- reality is somewhere behind
Brain fog- reality is somewhere behind

Monday, 1 January 2018

I’ll Restart Again Tomorrow.

Last night we again ended up with no children around, and so were asked if we wanted to go to a local friend of a friend’s pub for New Year’s Eve. Yes, why not?

I was fine about it, I don’t really see any more significance in the New Year being a new start than any other day of the year. 

The 18th May- the day I had brain surgery is a more of an emotional time to me and of new beginnings starting. 

So Dave and I went with a friend, along with two of our parents who were with us.

The pub was nice enough and the people who run it were lovely and chatting to us like friends too. But just a few minutes in and I don’t feel I fit there. 

Firstly they were raising money for ‘Stand up to cancer’ and although I know this isn’t a mainstream or even spoken about opinion - I hate all the pharmaceutical companies, the oncologist's and charities who exploit people’s suffering for profit. There already are things that help get rid of cancer- mainly when you address the cause and not just expect to stay the same and take a magic pill that will cure you -as seems to be what they are standing for... (My thoughts on this are here)  OK, so I just avoid that part of the room and can easily refuse to buy any raffle tickets.

Then the pretentiousness of many of the people there starts showing… or maybe that’s just me feeling the amount of people who were doing or saying something just to be popular. The ‘surrey bubble’ people as I call them. Preening themselves in the bathroom mirror to put on their persona so no one will notice their insecurity.

Then there is the alcohol… that socially acceptable poison (yes I know it’s a pub- what else should I expect?!) and the fact it’s so hard to just get water to drink, and the looks of pity when I do. I am feeling more separated from ‘people’ by the minute…

For a while there was a singer playing acoustic guitar who kept my head connected to something I knew- music. Then he stopped.  They still had songs playing in the background but the noise of people just seemed to be getting louder and louder with every drop of alcohol they drunk. The high pitched voices showing off their latest achievements or talking about the trivial. 
After about an hour I am starting to struggle, I feel like I need to run to find some peace. I go for a slow trip to the bathroom and just take my time in the comparative silence there. But it doesn’t last, there is only so long you can loiter in the toilet!

I am still trying to block out everyone apart from who I am with, but it feels like the noise is still increasing with each minute and my patience and coping is falling rapidly. I know a few years back I wouldn’t have been able to take any more and would have gone into overload, told everyone to fuck off and driven myself home at this point. (One huge advantage to always being sober and the one driving) But instead I pull out some ear plugs and grab Dave’s phone and try and zone out with that. 

Although it doesn’t help much when everyone else on social media seems to be going on about having a Happy New Year too. Nothing personal and how they are actually feeling, just this ‘say what we are supposed to say’ bolloxs. 

It feels like there is this huge elephant in the room of how unhappy everyone is, yet they don’t dare say their truth and instead just grab another drink…

My brain is on overload with the noise, or is it the fakeness? I don’t know if it is the after effect of brain surgery, a possible touch of Asperger’s or just being a little introverted and needing my space and solitude, but whatever it is …I can’t hack this. 
I am thinking I must be one of the only people who can stand taking pictures of a band- near a fucking PA speaker, a drummer and bass and guitar speakers; but cannot stand cackling women talking all night at full screech ... my brain felt like it was exploding… 'Get me out of here'…

I am trying to work out why I don’t feel the need to run at any of Dave’s gigs, yet an hour with just the noises of drunken people talking is just too much now? Actually my ideal at a gig would be to have someone I know also sitting watching with me and just be there so I am not alone with the other drunks in the pub. 

I actually quite like sitting alone, drinking water and singing the words to myself. The music and the words heal me, they make up for the rest of it.

Also (as someone who hasn't drunk alcohol for over 25 years) it's easy to see the people who drink compared to those who don't. Those few that don't look healthier, their energy is different, they know what you are talking about and are just more 'awake'. They have addressed their demons (or spirits) - literally! 

Whereas right now I can feel the self-destruction and yet them thinking this makes them happy - despite the fact I can almost see them breaking inside. I don’t fit in here.

I sit there with tears rolling down my face. 

Then through my blocking out earplugs and even more blocking out, trying to switch off, brain - I hear its midnight as the incessant cackle seems to get even louder. I vaguely look up and smile at Dave as he says Happy New Year, but cannot manage it for anyone else. If I do I will start an avalanche of tears- and I have to drive home, and cannot do that with blurry eyes. So I stay staring at the phone.

I sit there and just send silent thoughts of love to my children. Then my mobile rings and it’s Roan on the phone wishing me Happy New Year, so I go and talk in the toilets to him (the only place I can hear him). Listen to his childhood joy of watching the fireworks at my parents’ house, of it just being another day.

But as I leave the quietness of the toilets I know this is enough, my eyes hurt, my head hurts. I have to go. I tell Dave I am going to sit in the car and he walks with me as we go back to where we parked it and this time I manage to park outside the pub. I put on my 'chill me' music on - Muse - loud enough so that I can only hear that and avoid all the fireworks and drunken shouting in the street outside and just be. 

I feel the shivers running down my spine and sing along to the songs- in my own little world for about 20 minutes.


I still feel I am somehow cut off from the others as they return to the car to go home. I just feel fuzzy to them and like my senses have had to reduce input. The lights are too bright, the voices too loud, so I have to focus on my task of driving home and just switch off the rest. 

I simply can’t cope with people.

As we get back indoors I just want to go to sleep- restart again tomorrow. New Year or not.


Brain Surgery Over Stimulation