It seems appropriate to write something to sum up the year we’ve had… well here it is in a nutshell:
2019 was the most difficult year I’ve ever had.
I’m obviously going to pad that out a bit, because otherwise this would be a ridiculously short, not to mention somewhat pointless post, but that’s pretty much it.
At the start of the year, Mrs S had been off work for a while and went back to work in January. Fast forward to the end of the year, and I have been off work for a while and am planning to go back in January. I won’t tell Mrs S’s story, that’s hers to tell not mine, but I will share mine.
I would class myself as an introvert, I’ve always been happier in small groups of people, and comfortable in my own company. Towards the start of the year though, this was starting to reach extreme levels, I felt that I was withdrawing from the world, and a lot of the time just “going through the motions”. I was getting the essential things done, such as feeding the boys and getting them to school and such, going to work, but I felt emptier and emptier, I was doing things and feeling nothing. We were still waiting for post adoption support to organise themselves – it actually took until about June, a full eight months after we asked for help, for the application to be submitted by our social worker for the adoption support fund.
In the meantime, we had another service involved called the Family Wellbeing Service, and a lady would visit Mrs S and I, or just me, and give me parenting tips and sheets to work through, ideas for managing the ever increasing rages the boys were feeling. While she didn’t actually manage to come up with anything new for us, I was able to tell her how I was feeling about things, and she recommended I see the doctor. I had referred myself for counselling anyway by that stage, and was extremely reluctant to take medication for what I was feeling. I know, I’m a nurse, but I can’t explain it! This was in May, and then out of the blue I was walking into work one day and my friend from work sent me this message:
She probably doesn’t remember even sending it, but it was the nudge I needed to ask for more help, and I made an appointment with the doctor. Since then, I have been on some medication to help with my mood. I was also becoming extremely anxious, to the point that I was afraid to leave the house with the boys in case something happened to one of them, like if I thought about driving somewhere, I’d worry that someone would crash into us, or if we went out, that I’d lose them or someone would take them. I knew it was irrational, but I couldn’t seem to take control of my own mind, and so everything just felt too big and scary.
The next problem was that I became very angry at the world. I felt angry with my friends because I didn’t think they understood me any more; I became angry at the other parents at school, because I believed that our lives were a lot more difficult than theirs, even though I didn’t actually know that for sure; I was angry at social services because I felt that they weren’t keeping the promises they had made us and giving us the support we needed, and most of all I was angry at myself for all of it, for not being the person I wanted to be or the parent I expected to be.
The angrier I became, the more lonely I became, and that is a vicious circle. We got through the summer holiday, I don’t actually remember how or any of the things we did, but we survived! Then the new school year started, and even though I felt as though the medication had helped, things became harder again. Norman became very anxious, very reluctant to go into school at all, so each morning since September has been a battle to get him out of the house at all. He would run around screaming, hit out at any one of us, refuse to get dressed, undo his seatbelt in the car… whatever he could to express the rage and turmoil he was feeling. Marvin has been a challenge for as long as I can remember, there is probably only one person in the world more stubborn than he is, and that’s his mama!
But we plodded on in the hope that things would get easier! In October, my brain suddenly decided that enough was enough. It was a Monday night, Mrs S was at work looking after poorly babies and was supposed to finish work at 10pm. When it got to quarter to eleven, and I was worrying about where she was, she finally rang me to say she was on her way home and she’d been with a patient. I was furious with her! I’m actually ashamed to say it now, our jobs are such that sometimes you stay late for patients if they need it, I’ve done it myself countless times, as has she, we understand it. But that night I didn’t, that night I was angry that someone else was more of a priority than I was, even though I hadn’t actually told her how I was feeling. I cried. It’s not something I do often.
The thought of going to work the next morning was completely beyond me, it made me feel panicked, I didn’t know where I would park, or if I could drive there, or how I would stay there all day. Again, it seems a bit ridiculous saying it all now, but it’s how I felt. I saw the GP the very next day, increased my medication, and I haven’t been to work since. I’m lucky that I have kind, supportive colleagues who’ve stayed in touch with me regularly and listened when I’ve needed them to. Gradually since then I’ve increased my medication another two times, and my GP has been great.
That brings us to now! Christmas has passed in a complete blur, so much so that I can’t actually believe it’s happened! If our house didn’t look like a toy factory had exploded, I’d swear I had dreamt the entire thing!
The thing is, now I look back on how hard the year has been, I’m able to look at the positive things that have come from it all. I was strong enough to ask for help when I needed it and I had the support to do it. My old friends have waited patiently, and I still feel lucky to have them. I said in a previous post that I had made a new friend, and in a really short space of time she’s become really important to me, so much so that I can’t believe a few months ago I barely knew her. My work friends have looked after me, sending me funny pictures to cheer me up, listening to me when I’ve needed to talk or vent. My family – well, there aren’t words for how much I appreciate them, so I’ll just say thank you to all of them, not just the four of us fighting our battles in this house, but the rest of them too, mine and Mrs S’s parents, siblings.
So although it was the hardest year I’ve ever had, I’m glad I had it really I think, it’s helped me to grow, the boys have seen a different side of me, I’ve been able to find the strength to do the things I’ve needed to do. Fingers crossed for 2020 being a smidge easier eh! Happy New Year!