Comfort from a Country Quilt – or ‘setting myself goals’.

For Christmas this year my husband bought me a brand new sewing machine. Not just any sewing machine, bar cut the material it does it all ! So I’ve set myself a goal – this year I’m making myself a Christmas quilt. I’ve given myself all year to complete it and it should end up looking like the one in the picture, (hopefully).

I made my darling daughter her own quilt from Cath Kidston fabrics years ago and she adores it. It goes on holidays and long car journeys and sleepovers – she calls it her Comfort Quilt. I made it for her when she first became poorly in the hope it would give her many years of warmth and so far so good.

I decided to set myself two goals this year in the hope it would help me cope with the long dark abyss I see before me. With the start of the new year all I see is a mammoth black hole full of change. I don’t do change – it scares me. I suppose it is the lack of control I have. Last year was one of great change and this year is no different.

My daughter went into school today for the first time in a couple of years due to ill health. It was just an hour and she was petrified. But she did it and she came out full of excitement. She can’t wait to go tomorrow. Change but a good day.

This year my son and my step son, both 18, head off to University. They have placed their applications and the interviews and acceptances are coming in and before we know it they will be heading off leaving what was once a house of six to a house of three. More change.

So I am trying to be positive. First off, my quilt challenge. Secondly, I have booked myself into a Meditation Course in the hope it will help calm my burnt out nerves and bring some peace to my hectic and traumatic world. Thirdly, I am going to finish my first novel. I started writing it five years ago, well putting down ideas. This year I am going to finish it if it kills me.

I’m trying to be positive in the hope it gives me some semblance of normality in my life. Fingers crossed.

A Mother’s Love

My daughter goes back to school tomorrow after the Christmas break. That isn’t a huge thing to everyone but it is mammoth to me and even more mammoth to her. My daughter has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and hasn’t been in school full time for nearly three years.

She first suffered a bout of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when she was six and had the last four months of year two away from school. Then she was okay until the just after Christmas in Year five. She was given a flu jab but was given a live vaccine instead of a dead one (a no-no for CFS sufferers) and boom, bed bound for four months and the rest of year five and all of year six away from school.

She started secondary school last year and managed three weeks of a reduced timetable but went down hill again. The school have been brilliant – they have ensured we have been kept up to date with goings on and started sending a tutor out when she was well enough last year. And now she is well enough to go in albeit for a small amount of time. She is going in for an hour three times a week at first and the tutor is still coming out twice a week to do Maths and English.

The sad thing is that because it was a totally new school and then she went off sick, she hasn’t been there to make any friends. I know she is nervous as anything but she is so brave she won’t let on. It’s ironic that her health started improving about the same time my mother disowned me. Makes you wonder if all that stress wasn’t helping her either.

As parents we are responsible for protecting our children but I can’t do this for her. I’ll wait for her in the car park as it’s not worth coming home again but I can’t do it for her. I can only sit and pray she gets on okay.

New Year – New Start

Well it’s 2019, thank god. I made it through 2018: I don’t know how I made it, but I did. Boy was it a tough year. If I’m being truthful it was probably one of, if not the worst one I have had. I achieved so much but in return it cost me so much, the enormity of which is still sinking in.

Almost a year ago I received a letter from CICA saying they were awarding me Criminal Compensation for the abuse that happened to me between the ages of six and eighteen. That letter changed my life – it meant someone believed me, that I had finally been heard. They had looked at my whole medical history – I don’t know what was written in my notes but it was enough for them to determine I had been permanently damaged both physically and mentally by what had happened to me.

But and it’s a massive but, that letter was the final nail in the coffin in terms of my relationship with my mother. She couldn’t cope with it. Whether it was the confirmation by outside parties that I had been abused or just the fact I had received compensation at all I don’t know but the venom that came from her was undeniably meant.

I know she had a horrible marriage. I know that my abuser physically and sexually abused her too. But and it is a big but, she was the adult in the situation and i was a child. I had no control over whether she left or stayed with him. It was her job to protect me. I don’t mean to belittle what she went through, far from it because I was there with her – I saw it all. But as parents and adults we have to take responsibility for our children. If we make mistakes whilst we are bringing them up, if we make the wrong decision and it impacts them negatively, we have to admit it to them and own up to our wrong doing. We have to, they have to know that we know we messed up.

Also, I didn’t enter into my EMDR therapy to piss my mother off. At the outset I told my mum that I might withdraw for a while as I dealt with my issues. I told her this because I wanted her to know I loved her and that I always would but that I needed to get well. I had reached my lowest point and if I hadn’t sought help when I did I don’t think I would even be here now. But again she made it about her. She told me I blamed her and again reiterated that what happened to her was much worse than what happened to me. She couldn’t cope with the truth, that my childhood had shaped me into the woman I am now and that warts and all, my physical disabilities and mental health issues were and are a direct result of the abuse I experienced growing up. So I lost her, for good.

I enter into 2019 as a man-made orphan. Is there a word for a child who has no parents even though they are still living – that’s what I am. I’m frightened – all I see is a massive black hole ahead of me. The year ahead is just a wide abyss that I have to circumnavigate. All I can do is take it one day at a time. More than that is over powering.

That old familiar feeling

Well it’s twenty to midnight here, Boxing Day and I am finally getting a few minutes to write about how my first Christmas has gone since starting my EMDR therapy. I was very apprehensive about how it was going to go – every Christmas prior to this one has been very traumatic – I become hyper sensitive to potential triggers and my depression can easily be sent into overdrive.

The festive season this year has the potential to be even more traumatic as it is the first one without my mother in my life since she disowned me early in the year and since my ‘best friend’ ghosted me at the end of the summer. So it was fair to say I wasn’t going into it with joyous anticipation.

I tried my best to go gently with my plans. I planned everything in advance and has purchased and wrapped all gifts by the beginning of December. I love Christmas movies and set myself the challenge of watching one every day in December until Christmas Day arrived. This might have been made easier by the fact I knackered my right wrist and then caught flu but I managed it and I enjoyed them all despite some of them being definite ‘B’ movies.

My children were spending Christmas Day with my their dad leaving me, my husband and stepson to celebrate alone. It was quiet but lovely. Today they were at home so we had a second Christmas and it too was lovely. And not a trigger insight. There were a couple of slight wobbles, I’m not perfect but none like I have experienced at Christmas previously.

My husband drove my son back home today as he was due out with his mates back home and whilst he was gone I sorted out the putting away of gifts and did a bit of washing. Then I settled down to watch a couple of hours tv.

I have always strived for the perfect family Christmas but really, in truth, for the majority of us there is no such thing. Maybe we expect too much, who knows. So this year I just held out my hopes of a peaceful perhaps even non-eventful one. I expected a blip and told myself that when it came I would give myself time to grieve. You see I love Christmas and I have in my life had so much taken away from me, I’ll be damned if I will let the suckers take that too. So my EMDR must have worked, well the triggers of Christmas especially. The processing of those awful memories must have eased something.

When all my children have left home I will have a different kind of Christmas. I will book a holiday for me and my husband and disappear for the whole of the festive season. Until then I will try to enjoy it as best I can.

All in all it has been a lovely couple of days and I did it, I survived Christmas. Now I’ve just got New Year to contend with.

When a therapist lets you down

This week, well yesterday to be precise I ‘sacked’ my therapist. Why you may wonder, what could a therapist do to a client that was bad enough they got theirselves fired.

When I first contacted my therapist in March of this year I was honest at the outset that I do not just have mental health issues but physical ones too. In addition to CPTSD, severe depression, suicidal thoughts and panic attacks, I physically suffer from amongst other things, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ehler Danlos Syndrome, Arthritis, Chronic Pain Syndrome and Somatization Disorder. I was completely honest and upfront that there would be times that I may have to cancel my appointment at short notice because of my physical incapabilities not because I was avoiding therapy. She informed me of the fee charges and the amount of notice I would need to give to avoid paying and I was fine with it. She may be a therapist but she’s running a business – I get it.

Since April and up until this week I have cancelled twice. The first occasion I was very poorly and cancelled on the day. I made sure that I paid her double the next week. The second time I had a major flare up and knew that it would last a few days or more and as I couldn’t walk I cancelled. Because there was enough notice I didn’t have to pay for the session.

This week I was scheduled in for a session yesterday. I haven’t had one for a couple of weeks as she has been on holiday. I felt ghastly Monday night and went to bed early and woke yesterday with Stomach Flu – Joy ! So I emailed to say I couldn’t make it. I asked her for her bank details so I could pay her the fee prior to Christmas. I received an email back saying that we would have to have a face to face chat as she thought I was avoiding therapy and added that she was letting me have her bank details as I would have to pay. As if I chose to be ill! Trust me the week before Christmas I have far better things to do than spend my days going between my bed and the toilet.

Well my therapy must be working cause I wasn’t upset at her insinuation that I was a quitter, I was angry, in fact fuming. I wrote her a very calm email saying I would transfer the money, that I was ill and had in fact told her at the outset that this may happen and I was not as she had put, avoiding therapy. I then told her that it was probably best I find an alternative therapist. A little later I received an apology and a request that I think it over and if I change my mind contact her as changing therapists causes a break in treatment and disrupts improvements.

So this year folks I have been disowned by my mother, ghosted by my ‘best’ friend and accused of being a quitter by the one person who I was paying (a lot) to help me. Go me!

Therapists are there to help us and if we can’t trust them, who can we?

Bed bound and bummed out

Been a bit of a bum day. Been in bed for all of it as I have the makings of flu and it aggravates the symptoms of my ME. My physical illnesses have been getting the better of me lately. I missed my EMDR therapy session last week because I was in too much pain and today I was too ill again. My therapist is on holiday for two weeks now so I won’t see her for another two weeks at least. It will be interesting to see how I cope.

One of the things I hate about my past is how it affects my own mothering. I don’t know a ‘normal’ upbringing so how can I give my children one. I know all parents worry, I’m not stupid – I don’t think I’m the only one but it affects me so deeply when one of my children is upset. It drags me down and frankly shatters my world. I suppose it’s logical really. After all it stands to reason that the unprotected become the protectors, doing all it takes to make their children feel safe and loved.

I still can’t make sense of this year, I don’t think I ever will. Trying to get well has certainly wheedled out the rotting apples in my basket. But I can’t seem to find the peace I need, not yet anyway. It’s Christmas in four weeks. I’ve done all my present shopping and made my cake, it just needs icing. I’ve made an extra one for my grandparents – I know I have to see them, I want too. My grandad is almost 95 and his health isn’t great. But and it’s a big but, what do I say when they ask about my mother and they will. My therapist thinks I should tell them the truth – I want too – but I dont know if I am or ever will be ready.

My grandparents know my abuser was violent to my mother but they don’t know about my abuse. My mother told me they wouldn’t have helped her if she had told them and left him. I told her she was wrong – my therapist says I will never know unless I tell them about what really happened to me growing up. Time will tell I suppose. I will have to see what happens.

Struggling to cope

I haven’t blogged for nearly a month. To be honest I haven’t been in a good place both mentally and physically. I have been struggling to cope with everything that has happened this year. I expected that EMDR therapy was going to bring changes into my life but I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of loss I would experience.

I lost my so-called best friend. Well didn’t lose, she ghosted me, cut me off without word or reason. That upset me at the time but the fact I got over it so quickly leads me to believe that our relationship wasn’t all that anyhow or I would have cared more about it finishing. But then it was terribly one sided, on my part. She did all the taking, I did all the giving. I only wish I had figured it out prior to paying for her to go on holiday.

My biggest loss has been my mother and it is that I still cannot begin to understand. At the beginning of my EMDR journey I told her that I was doing it for me, that I loved her but it was something I had to do. Any mother would want their child to get well, but it was too much for her. In the end she told me I was disgusting and that cut me to the core. But the thing I cannot shake, the thing that I cannot rationalise is why she felt it necessary to tell me what my abuser, her second husband, had done to her during their marriage.

I witnessed a lot of it, even as a small child I nursed her wounds and consoled her after beatings. I saw it all. But was it really necessary for her passing blow to be her telling me what deprived sexual acts he had subjected her too. What kind of mother does that. It’s as if she wants to persuade me her abuse was worse. I can’t shake it from my head and it is destroying me.

I have gone into myself since then – bar my children no one can reach me. I see the pain in my husband’s eyes and I don’t know what to say to him. It’s as if I have nothing left. My bulimia is back with a vengeance. I vomit daily – sometimes I don’t even have to make myself – it just happens. I am empty now. I have nothing left to give. I am disgusting. She has won.

Music has always been of great comfort to me.

My song for today – “Let it Rain”, by Clare Bowen

https://youtu.be/146DT8ShGHY