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Guess who’s back, back again

Goodness wasn’t that a very prolonged sabbatical – sounds as if I was doing something worthy and important doesn’t it? I wasn’t I was just very very sick for a really really long time and now I am still sick but everything else in my life that could possibly have changed has, so now is as good a time as any to start writing again. I enjoy it and now that I can see properly and am not lying down for most of the day I feel I can accomplish that. The writing bit.

So, I think I’ll approach the changes in time order, seems logical.

In May last year, my sickness became unmanageable, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t see often, I couldn’t stay awake. and I was signed off work. New meds, a new experimental treatment, a lot of pain. By Christmas my position at work was untenable and we parted company. It seems odd to see it in a concise sentence as it was such an all-consuming stressful awful time of anxiety. After all, who can afford to just a lose a job? I am a single mum, single income household with a mortgage and bills and all the grown-up things to pay for. In fact, the stress added to my illness so it was an awful vicious circle but I knew that there was no way I would be able to work in the same way I had before, even if I wanted to I physically could not cope and my body would not cooperate.

In February this year, I got married after a rather short engagement of 6 months, though a relationship of nearly 5 years now. However, we still live apart, him in Oxfordshire and me in Buckinghamshire, as selling houses is complicated! I know, first world problems, and when it becomes frustrating I remind myself that I actually own a house, I never thought I would be in that position especially after my ex-husband left 6 years ago and was awfully keen on selling our home…. that’s another story. Anyway, the plan is to sell our homes and buy a home together, one that fits in all the children, my one and his two and any other little one that may come along. The plan was to stay in Bucks but our hearts now belong to the Cotswolds so we will see. We both have children and they remain our priorities when it comes to decision making.

In March we went off on honeymoon to Seychelles and started trying for a baby. We are rather old, I’ve just turned 45 and he is 51, and hold out no great hopes, we know the odds, but we have decided to give it a year a see if we get lucky, if not we shall get more mini dachshunds and be happy. Due to my illness’, well really due to the meds I take it has been a very calculated plan including the withdrawal of many of my meds which are not suitable to be on when pregnant and the reintroduction of some old friends – hello prednisolone steroids and huge appetite – to try and stop my liver from coming out of remission. I have also had to give up all my heavenly pain meds, but it is worth it. So far, I’m monitoring it with blood tests and have had a little hiccup but on the right road now. I also have a history of miscarriage and my daughter was 3 months premature so my Early Miscarriage Clinic phone number and blood thinning meds are within arms reach should I see that lovely little line indicating pregnancy.

I do love a project, it gives me something to focus on, so I have stockpiled Ovulation tests and been plotting my cycle on a fab free app called Flo. In fact, my dedication meant I met my husband in North Carolina for a week while he was there on business. It was my predicted ovulation time and as I said we don’t live together so we need to take all the opportunities we can. And a week exploring somewhere new is fun. I can highly recommend Wilmington. It’s where Dawsons Creek was filmed, in fact, it is where loads of things have been filmed. I had the luxury of meandering around all day, sitting in the sun, drinking coffee, making friends, it was wonderful.

In April I set up my own business but more of that later.

The constant has been my darling daughter, her very existence made the darkest of times bearable and always always gave me a reason to keep going.

I feel I should have returned with a shiny new look to the blog too but really I just wanted to say hello.

But the last day of summer Never felt so cold

This year summer seems to be over as soon as it began for the school age children. All the good sunny weather happened before they broke up but I am pleasantly surprised that it remains light for so long in the evening still, 9pm last night. I know this specifically because I went to bed for a nice afternoon nap at 3pm having got home from work and a lovely lunch catch up with a friend. I woke up at 8.30pm and was completely confused, I thought it was morning because of the daylight outside, I was in a completely disorientated panic which lasted about half an hour. Horrid adrenal pumping head ache inducing way to wake up.

 

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But I know that soon the evenings will be drawing  in and eventually I will find myself in a subterranean like world of leaving for work in the dark and returning home in the dark. I am a huge fan of autumn and winter, of Christmas and lamplight (so good on the complexion), of cosy blankets and bed socks but equally I suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).

The NHS define it as follows:

“Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.

SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter.

The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.

SAD often improves and disappears in the spring and summer, although it may return each autumn and winter in a repetitive pattern.

Symptoms of SAD

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • a persistent low mood
  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • irritability
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight

For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.”

If I am not mindful then it can end up utterly flooring me. It doesn’t happen over night, it is the slow creeping in of lethargy, equaled to the diminishing of day light. Life starts to feel flat, if I don’t start dragging myself back up he hill at that point then the feeling can remain with me for months.

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I have no magic remedy, though I have found SAD lights to be very effective, 10 mins a day while at work. I have been lucky enough to have at least one exceptionally hot and sunny holiday each year so I feel I stock up on sunshine and energy. But I am also kind to myself, darkness does produce lethargy, that is normal, just as the spring sunshine makes us want to throw on coats and go on long fresh walks.

I’m not trying to wish summer and sunshine away but I know from experience that now is the time to start thinking about where I put my SAD lamp, time to transition into the new season in the healthiest way I can.

Marking the transition of seasons, as ridiculous as it may sound, helps too, so it isn’t just the long stretch towards Christmas (the best time of the year ever) that we are waiting for. And I love an excuse for a celebration. One of my favorites is the Autumn Equinox, Mabon, it happens around 21st-24th September, the The White Goddess tells us the story behind it:

“Mabon marks the middle of harvest, it is a time of equal day and equal night, and for the moment nature is in balance. It is a time to reap what you have sown, of giving thanks for the harvest and the bounty the Earth provides. For finishing up old projects and plans and planting the seeds for new enterprises or a change in lifestyle. Mabon is a time of celebration and balance.

This is the time to look back not just on the past year, but also your life, and to plan for the future. In the rhythm of the year, Mabon is a time of rest and celebration, after the hard work of gathering the crops. Warm autumn days are followed by chill nights, as the Old Sun God returns to the embrace of the Goddess.

The passing of Mabon is inevitable and The Sun God should be mourned. We too, must remember that all things must come to an end. So the Sun God journeys into the lands of winter and into the Goddess’ loving arms, but endings are a good time to celebrate our successes, thank our selves and those who helped us, and take part in the balance of life!”

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