Today my long over due post is about making the most of things and doing things to make memories no matter how you are feeling. After confidently stating in my last blog I hadn't flared for a while I have had constant flare ups for 10 days or so...that will teach me lol but I have remained positive and productive as far as possible.
This last week has been half term week and we have had such a lovely week with the family. We have been to Rufford park, (One of our favourite places in the word), to do a Halloween hunt and have lunch. We also took part in making poppies out of clay and compost to add to the nationwide poppy display to commemorate the Great War. We visited my husbands brother and his wife for pizza night, which was great fun, and we went to the pictures. It's great being married to a teacher. It's hard during term times when we never see Dad because he is always working, but it is great come holiday times when he can join in the fun with the rest of us. Then on Saturday it would have been my Grandad's 90th Birthday ... which was a very sad occasion for all of us as we lost him just 9 weeks ago. But it was also my Nephews 9th Birthday as so we wanted to do something special to make the occasion. My nephew always spent time with his Great Grandad on their birthday and so this year was harder for him than any of us but we were determined to make new memories.
On Saturday morning my husband, the children and I climbed into the car and headed up the A1 to the North East, My home. It was such a weird feeling. We were all happy to go and see the family and yet sad that we would be celebrating Gramps's Birthday without his physical presence. The plan was to take some balloons (biodegradable - Environmentally less damaging balloons), to Little Haven. A place where my Grandparents often sat and ate their chips over looking the sea right from being teenagers. We met my parents at their home first and had a sandwich and much needed cuppa before we set off to the beach. I have to say the sea is the one thing I miss the most about living in the North East. I live in North Nottinghamshire, which is beautiful and I am settled here now but it is always a good feeling to know we are going home to the sea. The children were so excited to see their Grandparents. My youngest calls them Nan that lives far away or Grandad that lives far away because to a 6 year old it must seem like such a long journey to go and see them and for many years they have not been able to visit us at our home. We pilled into the two cars (Kids in my parents car), and travelled down to the front.
When we arrived it was great to see my sister and her little girl there waiting for us. My Nephew had gone to watch Newcastle play in the hope he would see his name in the programme and have a little mention but bless him it wasn't to be. My Aunt (Mam's sister), My cousins and their better halves and my gorgeous baby half cousin met us too. We all walked down to the pier and my Mam said a little speech. There were a few people milling around but do you know I don't think any of us really 'noticed' them. Typically two of the balloons had gone down and so we shared them, writing our messages of love for Grandad on the tags and setting them off from the Pier. It was such an emotional moment I could cry now thinking about it and until very recently it's not something I have been able to do. It seems so final to be celebrating someone's birthday without them doesn't it? It seems to have taken weeks for the fact that he has actually left us physically to sink in. I still hear his voice and feel him close to me...well I will do being a medium...but letting go of that balloon was as sad as watching the curtains close on the coffin at the funeral. You feel like someone has ripped out your heart and thrown it away. I am sat here with tears rolling down my cheeks just thinking about it. Many people are blessed with wonderful Grandparents but I can honestly say I was bless with 4 amazing Grandparents, whom I loved dearly and to say goodbye to the last one is like losing them all, all over again. I didn't think I was going to be able to stop crying, I sobbed so hard but it felt good to release some of that sorrow along with the balloon,
The next bit was going to the restaurant for lunch. How would I do that? We all had to be happy to see my nephew and wish him a happy birthday but I just didn't think I had a smile in me! Of course I did. As soon as my nephew walked in with his gorgeous beaming freckled face the room lit up. How could we feel sad. We still had so much to be grateful for and Gramps would have been so ashamed of us had we been sad on my nephews birthday. The drinks flowed, the food was amazing (18 cavalries Geordie style was no small operation). My little cousin made us all smile and laugh with his tiny stumbling steps and ability to single handedley tire us ALL out. How did I cope with three little ones??? When we wre all younger Gran and Grandad would have us all over for parties at their house and we all have such amazing memories. Each one of us has a different funny story to tell and we wanted to recreate that. The old generations were leaving us, for a while, and being replaced with new family members but they will never be forgotten. Far from it. They are still so much at the centre of our family and no matter where we are in the world we have each other. We will always be together in Spirit and we will always (God willing), have our memories.
My sister offered to have my younger two boys for a seep over. A) because it was her son's birthday and B) because it would make things easier and less cramped at my parents house. The boys were thrilled and didn't even look back when I dropped them and their suitcase off. It's weird tho when you have memories of your childhood and suddenly you are the parent watching your own babies making their memories of spending time with you and your siblings. I don't think the boys wanted to leave the next day. ben and my Dad are so close and the little ones had had such a fab time at their Aunts it seemed cruel to take them all away but we will be back again soon. It's hard when you live 135 miles from your family and you can't always get home to see them. Especially when they have busy lives and can't come to visit you either but I am pleased we make the effort, even if it is just 3 or 4 times a year because it means so much to see them and spend time with them. Loved ones are so very precious and it is only when they have left us that we truly appreciate what they have meant to us. I'm not saying I take my family for granted, far from it but I do think society these day's rates material things over family and friends far too often. Something I have always tried NOT to do.
Return to school on Monday was awful. I am actually one of those weird people who truly loves having her family at home...most of the time! Of course we all need personal space from time to time and I do need time to write and work but I will gladly sacrifice most things for a day with my babies and lovely hubby. After spending such an amazing week with Dom and the boys plus seeing the family, Monday morning was hard, packing everyone going back off to school was the last thing I wanted, but it happens and I know it won't be long before the Christmas break. It's not like I have anything to do with my time. I have been working on a few new scripts and I have had a few clients in for Reki, massage and Hypnotherapy. I have started a children's story but I haven't done anything on it this week because by Monday evening my middle son was really poorly and on Tuesday he was diagnosed with a nasty water infection. Bless him, he ended up being at home with me all week. I am not complaining, it's wonderful to spend time with him but I worry about them missing out on school work and I so hate it when they are ill. Luckily a few days of antibiotics and he seems much brighter so fingers crossed he will be well enough to go to school on Monday.
I had my first CBT session yesterday In Worksop and what a laugh that was. I sat and told the lady everything she was supposed to tell me. We discussed events in my life which lead to me feeling unsafe. Health issues. The correlation between mind and body health. The physical effects of Fibromyalgia and the anxiety and depression it brings with it. How I managed it, what strategies I had for making the most of my life and then she asked me how she could help because she said I knew everything she would be able to tell me! Ha I did laugh at that. I may know it but sometimes having help processing it and managing a condition are different. There is so little help out there sometimes for people. No wonder people feel alone, but I am hopeful that next weeks session is more productive and helpful and can help me get back to some sort of normality...although as she said, I seem to be managing that at the moment, it's just that my 'normal' has changed and is always changing. It's like being on a roller coaster of up and downs I have had to come to terms with that and learn how to make the most of both the up's and the downs.
Today I was in a lot of pain. It started before I even got out of bed this morning and seemed to just get worse. My legs hurt, my back hurt, my arms from my shoulders right down to my fingertips were stiff and painful. I couldn't walk Lola my dog and I did try but even with my walking stick going at a snails pace I had to turn and come home. But my lovely friend Trish and her youngest boy Ben (now all gorwed up and at Uni), came to see me to surprise me. They are a hoot together and I always feel so much better when I see them. Trish had made my gorgeous Giraffe (Gerald) and told me all about A4e (Access to work scheme), no one tells you about these things. She also explained about ESA and PIP assessments. Neither of these benefits are easy to obtain and I think it goes on the mood of the advisor at the time of your medical but it was good to gain some knowledge into help I may be entitled too. Going from a full time wage, to no wage was blinking hard and although I manage to work part time at the moment, It is sometimes really difficult to work at all and my mental and physical health always stand in the way at some point, even when I love the job. Hence why I have chosen to pick up my old skills, do some CPD's and get back to working a little from home. Not everyone has these choices tho and it frustrates me that people have to struggle with jobs and health and money. But don't get me started on that one because today's blog is a grateful one and focused on all the positives of my last two weeks.
I have also started a support group up on facebook called 'Fibromyalgia - supporting each other'. It was set up with the aim of bringing people together who suffer with fibro and or any of the symptoms and although it is still a little group at the moment it is growing and we have some lovely kind hearted members, all looking not only to help themselves but to support others through their days too. Already after literally 4 days people are making friends and supporting each other through the tough days, giving advice on medication, work, help available and life in general. It is heart wrenching to know so many others suffer from this disease as well as me but it is also so heart warming to know people genuinely want to make the most of their lives and help others improve and understand their own health. I didn't realise when I planned to set the group up just how much I would get from the group myself and I hope I give helpful advice back too. It has really helped me put my mind in gear and give myself that much needed kick up the backside I needed to continue with my blogs, finish my book and make a new future for myself and my family.
The one thing I had forgotten to do when I was really low was to laugh. You never really see how deep the hole is until you start to climb out. This last week I have found myself laughing at the boys, at jokes on the T.V or radio, really enjoying the company of friends and not just pretending too. I have felt more peaceful within and I am slowly coming to terms with my life not being exactly as I planned it would be, because it is a darn sight better than some peoples lives and I am truly blessed in so many ways. Seeing my Dad in the agonising pain he is in every day with his Osteoporosis and palindromic arthritis really hits home that I may have my bad spells, in what ever way I have them, but I am blessed to still get breaks in-between them.
I have agonising pain but not every day. Some days it is quite mild and I feel almost normal and on the very bad days I know that things will improve at some point, even if it's just for a while. I think after a full year of being depressed and anxious about my health I have come to realise that I have to make the most of everything. We all should really shouldn't we. None of us know what is going to happen in the future. My Grandparents were all lucky in that they lived long lives and had families who adored them. Yes they all had their hardships and troubles like the rest of us but I remember all of them had such brilliant senses of humours.
So these last two weeks have been great for me really. I have learned a lot and come a long way. Yes I have had more days of pain than not but I have found ways to deal with them. I have had days of high anxiety and even a couple of panic attacks but I have not felt depressed and I feel I have managed much better and I know I have improved hugely from even just a few weeks ago mentally. Unfortunately physically it has been harder these last few weeks than it has been for a while but I know that fibro comes in waves of flare ups and I accept that now and I know better times will come, I just have to be patient. The pain of fibro and arthritis may never leave me or I may spontaneously heal one day but what ever happens I have vowed to make the most of life. To write my books, to spend time with my loved ones, to focus on what I can do and not what I can't do and to appreciate every single moment of life. After all their is no point in moaning about being in Spain when you aimed for Italy because Spain is lovely too. It's just not Italy! It is so important to make fun days and spend time with loved ones doing things that will give you joy forever because these are what keep us strong on the bad days.
Hi my Name is Philippa Woodsford and I am a Holistic therapist, Reiki Master Teacher and Hypnotherapist. I suffer with anxiety and depression due to a condition called fibromyalgia which I believe is linked with an auto immune disease I was diagnosed with at just 17. My blog is written for me as a sort of journal but also in the hope it may bring hope and healing to others suffering with similar issues on a daily basis. Enjoy