Wednesday 26 March 2014

Guest post (SF)

I have always been that annoyingly happy, optimistic, non-judgemental person, the one who most of my friends turn to for help, support and advice, and I would always be there as best I could. I have also always been one to hide how I feel, smile and get through things regardless. This used to be great, I could get through everything this way, I was always ready to take on the world with a smile. In Feb 2006 I quit my favourite job, I had been working nights for a company who provided the emergency assistance for travel insurance (I loved that job so much!) but I was starting to get unwell and my Dr suggested that a move to days would probably do me good. When I put in a request to move to days I was told no, as there wouldn't be enough cover. After a while of this I just got frustrated and decided to put my health first and took the first job available, and quit my favourite job. New job was evenings and weekends as a call centre supervisor and I hated it. The centre was so disorganised, the staff were all 18-20 and hated their jobs, oh and the other 2 supervisors (delightful women) disliked me as I hadn't worked my way up like they did. After a few months of putting up with the delightful women constantly trying to trip me up and push me down I decided that maybe now was my chance to move away from the small town and see what else was out there. So June 2006 I upped and moved to Leeds... because I had fallen in love with it years before. In September 2007 I went out with my now ex husband (met through work), we dated a while, moved in together, then October 2008 we discovered I was pregnant. At this point I had started to notice that my ex had some "issues" (strange eating habits, drinking a little more than I thought was normal, and what I thought might be mild depression) I asked him at this point if he would go to his GP and talk about these things, he assured me he would as he wanted to be a great dad. (And yes I have my own issues, I am overweight, and I don't like lots of people in small spaces.. freaks me out.) May 2009 our daughter arrived, my ex would try to do things but lacked confidence so I would end up doing most things, but I was happy to do so as he was out at work full time whilst I was on maternity leave. He started drinking more, and more regularly but always shrugged it off as not being a problem as he wasn't violent or a "tw*t" as he put it. I told him he needed to be careful, and that he was most definitely showing signs of being an alcoholic, and that he should go get help. July 2010 I got a call from work saying that ex had been taken to hospital, so I got daughter ready to go out and as stood up I felt extremely nauseous, so I quickly ran upstairs to do a pregnancy test which was positive. Went to pick up the ex from the hospital following a "possible migraine". A few months later we discovered he had suffered 2 symmetrical TIA's in the visual cortex of either side of his brain. This reduced his peripheral vision by 10%, and left him with visual epilepsy meaning he needed tablets as his vision would go "funny" so like a migraine but no headache. February 2011 our son arrived, my ex had stopped trying to help, he was sleeping a lot and when he wasn't sleeping he was having panic attacks, and his visual epilepsy would play up as he wasn't talking to his GP about anything now. So I had 2 under 2's and a 6ft4 ex who relied heavily on me as he wouldn't seek help. This is when I started to struggle and my GP started telling me I needed a break as I was dealing with stress and exhaustion. I went back to work part time after my maternity leave, my ex kept trying to go back to work but because he wasn't asking for help his epilepsy and depression weren't being treated so just both kept getting worse. If the children were ill I would take time off work to look after them as my ex was incapable, if my ex was having a particularly bad day, I would have to take time off work, and if I got poorly I ended up taking time off work. I started to resent my ex, for putting everything on me and not talking to the Dr's, and I started to tell him (regularly) I wasn't coping. I lost my job November 2012, due to too much time off. This was where things started to get too much for me, and the resentment built. Feb 2013 a friend took me and the children out to McDonald's as a treat. Sat down at the table, chatting away she turns to me and says "you are not happy what is going on?" Well... that was it. Everything I had held back, not mentioning a word to a soul, all the false smiles and hidden hurt, well it all fell apart, in the middle of McDonald's. She had thought things had been a bit off for a while but I had always managed to deflect, but this had been a bad day and it was the wrong question to ask. Eventually I managed to stop crying (in Maccy D's!! at lunch time on a weekend!! I hate crying even more so in public!). When we got home she turned to me and said she would have left after 6 months of the way he was just ignoring us all and belittling me and that she had no idea how I kept going. That was it I saw it as permission to step away, for me and the kids to have our own life. March 2013 the ex moved out.. life started getting better, things were getting easier, I had gallstones which would set me back on each flare up, but I was decluttering the house and starting to move on. November 2013 I found a house within walking distance to my little girls school, unfortunately the move date was 3 days before my gallbladder op, but with a lot of help from friends and family (my little brother travelled 200 miles to stop for 3 weeks and help out bless him). I had the op, then after a week staying at a friends house sleeping and taking things gently I was back home to look after the kids on my own, and finish unpacking from the move. Days ticked by, I had good days and bad days, but I started to notice that the good days were only occasional still. The stress of everything that had been going on had passed but still I was left feeling exhausted, getting out of bed only happened because little ones were up and I was struggling to get moving, to get motivated to do anything even getting washed and dressed. I was only doing anything at all because of my children, and when ever they weren't around I was crying, I didn't want to cry, but tears would just be falling for no reason. So I went to our new GP and told her, took a simple test just asking how I felt, circled the numbers relevant and she turned to me and said that she thought that the stress may no longer be there, but I think your serotonin levels may just have run out leaving you to deal with exhaustion, depression and anxiety (my anxieties on dealing with lots of people in small spaces had spread to just being near lots of people.. I don't like people en-masse.. I like individuals). So I am now on tablets, anything to help me get back to me. I am due to start counselling at the end of March and I know its a long road, bad days do and will still happen, but one day I will get there.

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