Families, Family, Inspiration, mental health, Motivation, real life, Spirt and soul, women

It’s harder when there is no plaster

I have just had the most beautiful bouquet of flowers and a sweet ‘get well’ card from my work colleagues.

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I can say with my hand on my heart that I’m never sick from work, I can tell you the number of occasions I’ve been off over the last 20 years! The odd bout of sickness, a back problem where I couldn’t get up of bed, and two occasions in the same month where I was bitten on the leg by a horse fly – I don’t think it was the same fly – it was very painful, and my poor leg swelled up to the size of an elephant!

So, when I say I have been signed off sick for 3 weeks – it will be as much a surprise to you as it was to me! ‘Work related stress’. Me? How can that be? I know how and why it happened, but I don’t understand how it has affected me this way. I’m normally the swan on the water graceful above, but paddling furiously beneath the water! I don’t get fazed by hard work, juggling lots of balls in the air all at one time. Managing multi layers of complexity in work, different personalities and their own health issues, angry aggressive and sad phone calls from customers. But of course there are times when it just catches up with you. And this is just one of those times!

At first I fought it furiously. I didn’t think I needed the time away to recharge – because really this is what it is. I thought I could manage all the additional pressures, then as the 1st day at home went on and it hit me why I was like this – I realised it would help.

I have resilience in cart loads, I grew up surrounded by parents and grand-parents who had mental health issues, and from a young age have seen the effects it has on families. I learned to manage the fall out, and how to avoid some of the issues that these health problems come with. I swore before I ever had children, they would never ever see me the way I saw my parents. My beloved mother suffering weeks and months of sadness, non-communicative and zombie like, never leaving her bed – drugged up and desolate. Crying for a ‘cure’. Then more months of shopping and more shopping. The roller coaster that is Bi-Polar. My 90 year old grandmother – repetitive counting and cleaning and hand washing, all the symptoms of OCD. Ambulances and police cars late at night, and the harrowing visits to the hospital – a place no 10 year old should ever have to visit even to see their lovely amazing father, a broken war hero with ‘shell shock’. Thankfully treatment for mental health has improved over the years, but the illness has never ‘gone away’. Many people have to suffer with OCD, Bi-Polar disorder, PTSD and psychiatric crisis. The places of treatment are far kinder than 50 years ago, the long walk between locked doors in psychiatric hospital are a thing of the past – for some. Medication and other treatments have improved. And thankfully there are now initiatives to help us to talk about our issues. My mother always said that if she had a broken arm – she would have had far more sympathy and understanding – from those who saw mental health as the unseen illness!

And for some who just need that duvet day or a long time to recharge batteries, and regroup their resilience’s – there are those who see the simple things that help get them back on that road to being themselves again.

I’m re-building my mental strength. Swimming, watching favourite TV programme. Walking in the fresh air, basically doing things for me and my loved ones.

And I’d like to think I will be back as strong as ever, to support those who need me going forward.

 

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Family, Food, Inspiration, mental health, real life, social media, Spirt and soul, Whatever

Do we truly relax?

I’ve had a really stressful few months. Both at home and at work. We are having a new bathroom fitted that hasn’t gone to plan. At all!

And in work, lack of staff, overloaded with work and ever changing priorities means longer hours and constant battles with management.

But now I’m on holiday with my better half. He is more stressed than I am as he is at home with the builders.

We are chilled in a luxury hotel. Amazing view, incredible food, attentive staff…And not a spec of dust or builders bucket of cement in sight.

Are we truly relaxed? Without a doubt!

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Adoption, Families, Family, history, Inspiration, love, New life, real life, Spirt and soul, women

Healthier babies, happier parents.

I found a book this week while clearing my loft out! It was called ‘Healthier Babies, Happier Parents. A practical guide by Specialists’ First published in 1959, which fits in with when I was born.

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What is most poignant about this book, is not so much the book itself, but the fact that in the front cover of the book is a note book with lots of handwritten pages lovingly written by my mother.

How do I know it was written lovingly your probably thinking? Surely each and every mum who is able to – takes love and care over things that concern her child.

There are 3 sets of notes. 5th Months old, 6 month and finally 7 months. It’s really poignant to me as I was adopted at 6 months old, and these notes show that perhaps initially she wasn’t sure when I would be coming into their lives. She wanted to be prepared I’m sure, and be ready for me when I arrived.

When I found the book, it was instantly recognisable as something that had been around me when I grew up, but the note book at the front brought me to tears as it was something I don’t remember and was so very personal.

My parents had always told me that I was a special baby, one who had been chosen from lots of others, and when I look at this snap shot from my young life – I know deep down in my heart I was so very much loved, and they wanted to do their very very best for me!

All the love they showered on me over the years, and the kindness they showed me at the darkest times of my life culminate in this simple book of handwritten notes produced even before I became part of their life.

 

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Families, Family, history, Inspiration, loss, love, real life

Saturday Girl

I’d heard about Doreen long before I’d met her. And I think the Angels of fate allowed this to happen. Let me tell you why I think they were involved.

I’d been going to a relatively local Hair Salon for a number of years, and I felt really comfortable with the hairdresser who cut my hair. Then they closed the salon, and she moved to a different branch, so I moved with her. You don’t give up a hairdresser do you who makes you feel confident? The other branch was based in a sports complex, and was full of young vibrant students who washed hair, and changed the towels, brought the tea and coffee and swept the floor. A busy place.

Then suddenly it started to get quieter, there were less clients there, the Saturday staff became less and less, and the hairdressers were leaving. I was told that salon too would be closing. The next time would be my last time.

I went there with a heavy heart, knowing I’d have to look for somewhere else.

The last time I went there, I think I was the only one there. The young girl who was given the task of washing my hair, I struck up a conversation with her. She said that she did this job as a Saturday girl, but really she wanted to become a photographer like her granny, who had worked for a newspaper, and took photographs of famous people. She was pretty, young and bubby and enthusiastic about what direction she hoped her career would go in. What a pleasure to talk to someone who was so proud of her family that she wanted to follow in their footsteps. I remember saying she should follow her dream – It’s how I think anyone of us should progress in life- if we can. We only have one chance. And I wished her luck.

Soon after this the salon closed, and I found somewhere else. But I always remembered this young girl who was so enthusiastic and vibrant.

A few years later our paths crossed again, but I wasn’t to know it. We were at a New Year’s Eve party at a local club with my two teenage sons. She was there with her friends.

Then one day my eldest son brought home his new girlfriend, Millie. And as the months went on, we found out a little more about her. And lo and behold- it turned out that she was in fact this young saturday girl in the hairdressers, whose enthusiasm had shone through when talking about her granny the famous photographer.

As Millie firmly embedded herself in our family, and our son became a big part of hers, we met Doreen on lots of occasions. I could see why Millie wanted to follow in her footsteps, she had a love of her family and photography.

Oh yes, that New Year’s Eve party! Some photographs surfaced of our sons and their friends, and who was in the background? Millie as if she was always meant to be there!

We have recently said goodbye to Doreen this lovely lady of 92. To most people she looked very ordinary, well dressed, white hair, standing proud and chatty to those who want to stop and talk. But to others she holds a special place in their hearts. During the times of great change in the world, she took on the men in a business that was primarily for men, and put a different slant on it.

She will be missed, but her legacy lives on. Not just in history, but more importantly in her family.

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Animals and birds, Domestic Goddess, Families, Family, Food, Inspiration, Laughter, love, real life, Whatever, women

Who is in control?

I’m away on holiday with my other half. We are celebrating his birthday.

I love to be organised.  I need to have things in order, what I’m eating, where I go. My work needs to be arranged in advance. So when I’m on holiday I find that I’m a little out of my depth! Others are doing things for me, making my decisions. And will have had to be organised in advance, so I literally don’t have to be.

I find it a little disconcerting.

Of course I love being looked after and relish the idea that I don’t have to cook or wash up. But I have to make the bed, tidy the pillows and push the chairs back. I even wash the little cups before the cleaners come in to the room in the morning. Yes – I’m the woman who has to clean the house before the cleaner comes in – if I had a cleaner…

We are in a complex, in an apartment. That is a posh hotel room – with a little kitchen. We are overlooking a beautiful golf course, surrounded by trees. The geese fly over head to get to the lakes that surround the accommodation, and squirrels run up and down the trees finding their next meal. Of course the place is kept spotless. The cleaners wizz around on their bikes, and the maintenance people are in electric vans. They have it down to a tee.  Each villa and apartment is made with the same material and fitting so when something brakes they don’t have to work out what is needed – its all the same, so is easy to repair or replace! Brilliant, quick and efficient!

For someone who is so organised and controlling – this is the place of my dreams!

Now we are going for dinner tonight. It has taken us a few attempts to decide what restaurant we want to go to. We wrote the names of all the choices on pieces of paper, and picked the one that we were going to tonight. Please don’t tell me we are the only ones who do this. In fact I find it focuses the mind! If our first choice isn’t really the one we want to go to – we discard it and actually commit the one we want to go to!  So we are going out for a steak to the French restaurant, and if I can I will sit on the right hand side, near the window so I can watch the world go by!

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Families, Family, genealogy, history, Inspiration, Spirt and soul

Remembering Family.

I’m seriously into genealogy. I was adopted, but I know who my birth mother is, I met her a few times before she died at the end of the 1990’s. My father is a mystery – so far.

Last year I took my DNA with Ancestry, and when the results came back, a whole new world literally opened up before my eyes! I had connections – all be it distant – in America, Germany, Israel, Australia  and New Zealand. My continued search is another story that I’m sure you will hear about.

Why I’m writing this today, because in the United Kingdom Sunday 27th January 2019 is Holocaust Memorial Day. For many of us, this is something that we have read about, learned in school, and have seen at least one of the films that has been made about the events that happened in WW2.

I opened up an email a few weeks ago from My Heritage. a genealogy site that allows you like many others to build up your family history.  Quite an innocuous email, names I didn’t recognise. I clicked on one of the names to see if the snippet of information could lead me to some other information I already held.  It said the girl had died in a concentration camp. When I looked at her parents, it said the same. This information was like a  jab in my heart. These unknown people who were in my history somewhere had died in the most terrible way I could imagine!

Of course I never knew them, and I have no idea how they are related to me. It was only up until a year ago that I imagined I could be feeling this wave of sadness today.

Our history is so much more than a birth, marriage and a death certificate isn’t it?

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Families, Family, Inspiration, real life, social media, Uncategorized, Whatever, women, Writing

Exile from social media….what have I missed?

Its been 11 days since I decided that I would take myself away from social media. I’d read this blog and it has inspired me.

Unplugging and Reinventing

So I signed off from Facebook, my Instagram and Twitter account went cold.  I realised that these things were taking over my life. As soon as I woke up, before I had even put my feet out of bed, I was on my phone scrolling through ‘social media life’ and what had happened while I had been asleep. Every spare minute I was catching up with the life of others, where they had been, what they had eaten, what they were wearing, and who was celebrating a birthday or a friendship!  All the time neglecting my own life. Neglecting my blog and the other more important things – like talking to my long suffering husband. Cuddling my grand children.

At first it felt weird. I kept thinking ‘what is so and so doing?’ and then gradually as the time has gone on that feeling of missing out has diminished. Of course I still get the notifications when I log onto my computer, but I don’t follow the link back into the twisted world of Facebook. It was todays notification that prompted me to write this blog.  Apparently I have 90 notification and I had been tagged in 5 pictures. I know it doesn’t sound very much to some people, who get hundreds and hundreds a day, but its quite a lot for me.

Do you know what I miss the most? Seeing the pictures of my grandchildren that are posted by my daughter in law! I also missed two events that friends had arranged I had forgotten to put on my calendar. There is an awful lot I don’t miss. The sometimes boring lives of others who endlessly post about their pets, the weather, who has parked over their drive, cakes, and what their favourite celebrity is doing. And I’m sure there is a lot that others miss about me…or not!

I have about 4 weeks left of my exile. I know it will teach me something. Remove things that don’t enrich my life. Don’t bother to follow pages that are a fad, or if I do as soon as I fall out of love with those pages – un-follow them. Simple.

Social media in one form or another has a place in anyone’s life, but not as a replacement for real life and communication.

See you on the other side.

 

 

 

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