Facing the New Year

I am fond of deadlines and boundaries. They give me a focus. I self impose them all the time, but if I don’t have to, that’s great.

New Year is a big one. It allows me to shake off the emotional detritus of the past months and draw a deep fresh clean breath as I look ahead. It allows me to let go of things and reach for the new. Fresh sheets on the emotional bed.

Yes, I could do this at any time. Sometimes I do. But having the ritual and tradition of a date embeds this practise into the very core of me, so I embrace and use it.

If you’ve read this blog, or simply know me, you’ll know it’s been a tough old time this last year or so.

In the interests of closure, I will finalise something left hanging – I’d been avoiding caffeine as I underwent some tests to check out a funky heartbeat. Luckily it’s nothing to worry about. There’s a thing called ventricular ectopic beats which are common if a little unsettling at times. Keeping an eye on caffeine intake (luckily not having to avoid it altogether!) and stress levels (hear that, 2018, you’re under doctor’s orders!) and all should be well. This is actually a useful weapon against those pesky brain goblins who often dislike me “doing nothing” as they view resting.

The death of my grandad shook me deeply, while not unexpected, it was the first family death I’d experienced for three decades, the first grandparent I’ve lost (knowingly as I don’t know my paternal grandfather) and it rippled on a number of emotional and existential levels. It also toppled the psychological box I’d been stuffing unprocessed grief into as I told myself I was coping and moving forward and out tumbled all the feelings I’d pushed aside as I tried to build up a new life. I was emotionally running before I could stand. I’ve learnt that lesson and slowed down. Back to clearing the ground before building my foundations. I don’t have to reach the sky yet. The first bricks are still waiting to be laid.

So as I look ahead to the new year, almost ironically, the first task is to let myself fully grieve for all that’s gone, all the changes that have happened and everything I’ve experienced. To allow myself to be still and rest. To breathe and just BE for a while. Part of my duties moving forward has to be taking better care of myself, not pushing myself as hard as I was. Not trying to have everything NOW. Ensuring I receive the nurture I give out; whether that’s from myself or close ones. Make the time set aside for rest and recuperation just as important as time spent building a new social life in my new town and making my work life what I need it to be.

Slowly the year will unfold around me in it’s own time. I have the confidence to know that I will get out there and experience it. The fear of isolation is just a fear and unfounded. I will explore my new home town more fully. I hope to branch out socially with new activities and reclaim the yoga and bellydancing classes that I dropped in recent months due to exhaustion. I hope to have time for my creative projects, time for meditation and mindfulness, for health and fitness. Time for friends, both old and new and those yet to be made.

Exploration and nurture seem to be my keywords for the year ahead. I like those words.

If I forget, please remind me of them. Especially the second.



Okay, 2017…

The attitude I like to maintain towards life being a struggle is one of hope, one of tenacity. Some would say stubborn refusal to rest. I’m not going to argue with that now.

I try not to use the word “fight” because I don’t enjoy conflict or confrontation. But sometimes it is.

It’s certainly work.
And it takes it out of you.

I keep going for as long as I can. I’ve spent my time in the dark realms of depression and I will do whatever I can to avoid being there again. That’s why I work so hard. For the most part I succeed.


But sometimes you need to sound a retreat and leave the field.

It’s not defeat. It’s a tactical withdrawal.

Heal up, mend your armour, recruit new troops and when ready, you can return.

This year has finally brought me to my knees. Too much has happened, too much has been lost, too much has changed and my energy has run out.

Time to stop.

Time to give myself permission to stop.


So, 2017. You haven’t won. We shall call it a draw.

I shall be back.

Coping without Caffeine

I’ve been asked to stop having caffeine while I undergo some tests to figure out the reason why my heartbeat is tripping over itself randomly.

I admit I’m far more concerned about mornings without coffee than whether my irregular heartbeat is a serious issue… So I warned my friends, and drew up a list of replacement hot drinks – then did a lot of research into how much caffeine instant hot chocolate might contain. Result – the jury is out, best to avoid all chocolate as well just in case. If I’m going to do this, do it all the way.

Day one

I hate mornings. Seriously. Even though I’m grateful that I’m starting this on a day where I don’t have to be up at 6am, it’s still tough. I have the headache, I am that cliche and I’m annoyed about it. I have decided on lemon and honey as my morning drink, even though it involves me using a knife first thing in the morning. Still, it’s a drink I like, it’s warm, comforting and good for me. I can do this.

A little later, having somehow missed my bus and it being a freezing cold twenty minutes until the next one, I walk through town and decide to treat myself to a hot breakfast before my 75 minute commute. My decision making abilities are appalling and I manage to chose two places that don’t take card payments, but I’m eventually at the bus stop with hot cheese in a panini and wondering when I can take the next lot of painkillers. I also wonder how many calories it’s going to take to replace my much missed black coffee. Melty cheese does solve many problems however.

Luckily it’s not a busy work day – mainly because I have the mental processing power of a gnat. I do a good line in confused stares though.
Even more luckily I don’t have to worry about dinner as I’m working the late shift so I can just be vague, eat at work then go home.
I will do this. I don’t like it. But I can do it. Tenacity is my superpower.

Day two

Today is easier. I still have a headache. I’m not happy about this. I have various other muscle aches as well which may or may not be down to caffeine withdrawal. I’m putting it all at the feet of caffeine withdrawal though because I’m just in that mood. Today is easier because I’m not at work and I spend most of it resting and dozing and not having to make decisions or get people to the right place. It was a busy and tiring week before my doctor told me to avoid caffeine. Still feeling more tired than I want to. Just have a constant not quite awake feeling. Hopefully by the time Monday comes my body will have accepted this new status quo. Hopefully.

Day three

Woke with a headache. Bored of the headache now. Don’t think I drank enough caffeine to warrant a three day headache. I’m going to assume that I’m not drinking enough water and need to stretch my neck and shoulder muscles out and hope that, with the painkillers, ends this annoying persistent ache.

I ask my friend if I can smell his coffee. He doesn’t judge me. That’s true friendship right there.

I don’t mind honey and lemon as my morning drink although it’s more hassle than my coffee machine being set the night before and having delicious black nectar ready and waiting for me at 6am. Its also more calories and having shed over two stone this year I’m still keeping a vague eye on my intake. But I like honey and lemon and hopefully it will keep my immune system shiny.

I’m very glad I’m able to deal with this over a quiet weekend. My day consists of sofa, crafting and TV. I don’t think I’d be capable of much more! My headache lasts until I go to bed.

Day four

With some amazement I exclaimed to my friend this morning “I don’t have a headache!”

Thanks to also getting a lot of sleep, and the most relaxed of weekends, I’m feeling better than I have for the past few days. Although I still don’t feel awake. And I’m concerned about how I’ll cope with work tomorrow morning. But, as my motto is these days – there’s only one way to find out!

Our day is still relaxed and very low key but I’m feeling distinctly more cheerful than I was. Maybe this is all going to be alright.

Day five

I’m fine until I have to think. I’m aware of just feeling more tired than usual. The afternoon task of putting the timetable together is tougher than usual – although I think that’s not down to the lack of caffeine but I still feel like I’m thinking through a fog. My collection of fruit teas from Bluebird Tea company arrive and I try out Bears Like Marmalade in the afternoon. It’s nice. I have no problem drinking it. I’m considering a shiny new glass infuser mug if I have to keep up the fruit tea lark.

I just want to feel more awake!

I admit to having a bit more energy in the evenings though… No help for work but I do get the first batch of Xmas presents made…

Day six

Mornings aren’t any easier though.

Day seven

Today was overshadowed by news of my grandfather passing away.

A sudden and unexpected end to this blog post. I will pick this up again once I’ve progressed, had the tests, had the results and know what’s going on, but it doesn’t feel right to continue it now.