So Sunday saw the end of another really difficult week which started on the Monday with confirming Uncle Barrys funeral. It was going well but then a conversation about numbers attending turned into the most rediculous argument by one member of the family. Needless to say they were then no longer welcome. It angered me that someone would turn such a tragic situation into a problem about themselves. Sadly some people get off on that though but they have no place in my life!! Everyone was quite rightly upset about the upcoming funeral and didn’t need anyone else to start causing trouble, especially unjustly!
It was the day of the funeral but sadly my nan was too ill to make the journey or attend. The weather was also pretty shocking which would most certainly have taken her health back a few steps which she cannot afford to take. This is where technology comes into its own again. My nan was in such a terrible position because she was too weak to travel due to her being so ill. Not being able to go and see her own son in hospital must have been really difficult for her, despite the video message she was able to send him before he passed. Add that upset to the fact she also could not make his funeral must have, and still will be so heartbreaking, and in her case, quite literally if she was to travel. It was agreed that I would sit with my nan and watch the service via Facetime whilst cuddled up on her chair. At least then she was still able to be part of the service and able to say goodbye. I just find it so sad for her. I also feel so sad for grandad who has just lost his son and now having to be apart from my nan after 65 years, coupled with the knowledge she is extremely poorly. It just breaks my heart. My mum has lost her brother and is worried about losing her mum and so it’s very sad all round.
Tuesday was a really tough day mentally and I was so very drained by the end of it. That said, I had to quickly refocus and prepare for having to attend 3 long days of induction ready to start my job as a Specialist Paramedic with the North West Ambulance Service. I was so very nervous because I hadn’t been in a clinical environment since being diagnosed with PTSD in Aug 2012 and I didn’t know how I would react. They were 3 very long days in a classroom, I’ve never in my life spent 10 hours on the same day in a classroom! It was all going ok until we started working on scenarios of callouts. Throughout most of them my mind kept wandering back to the hospital room where my Uncle Barry had been lying helpless…. I had been in a bubble for almost 2 weeks whilst my uncle was in hospital and I hadn’t had any time to climb out of that before moving forward onto the course. By Friday I was struggling to keep my mind at the same pace as my body!! What I can say is that my new role will not be marred by my experience with PTSD. Of that I am grateful.
I was so drained when I returned home, I could have slept standing up I think! I don’t remember the journey back from Manchester at all. I pulled up at my mums house to have a coffee and pick my gorgeous doggy up before going to my grandads for our weekly chippy tea. There was no way I was missing that if I could help it. I really missed not seeing him, and nanna. I see them every day when I can so it was strange not seeing them for 3 days. Normal service resumed once sat in the recliner with a chippy tea on my knee and the TV blaring away as my grandad watched Last of The Summer Wine 😉
I was due to go out on Saturday night but I was battling with the decision for ages. A while ago I had been nominated for an award and Saturday was the night of said awards. Although I wanted to see my good friends I was completely drained and just wanted to tuck myself up in the comfort of my home. I also felt extremely guilty that I was going out to enjoy myself so soon after the funeral. To be truthful, I needed to break out of the bubble I felt trapped in but breaking out was easier said than done. I wasn’t in a normal bubble that popped at the slightest pressure. I felt I was inside a bubblegum bubble, pushing to break it but it just stretched and then bounced right back into shape!!! When I saw my friends I just wanted to cry there and then. I was suddenly also aware I hadn’t really cried and I needed a release. Sadly that still hasn’t happened as of yet.
So the night was great and I chatted to lots of people I knew. However, I frequently found my mind wandering back into the dark cloud. I didn’t stay in that place though and the cloud soon started to lift as the night progressed. My guilt started to subside as I realised I wasn’t doing anything wrong and I actually needed some connection with the outside world again. I had a good laugh, a little ‘dance’ and some great buddy hugs.
The following morning I was sat in my chair and I look around suddenly realising I hadn’t cleaned my house or done any washing in over 2 weeks. The worst realisation was that I hadn’t even had a shower for 4 days!!! I basically got up, quickly washed of the face and ‘bits’, brushed my teeth, doggy walked then out the door. When I came back in at the end of the day I couldn’t be bothered, never really had a full meal and basically didn’t look after my own needs at all!! I was absolutely appalled with the realisation but also, I decided not to be so hard on myself.
I have learnt one valuable lesson throughout all this. Despite what is happening around you, you MUST also take care of yourself. I have been told on many occasions that I need to take some time out. I’ve also been told that I’m too nice on occasion and I think I’m finally realising that. I will ALWAYS put family and close friends first and that will never change. However, I know I am way too soft in other areas which is sometimes to the detriment of myself. I was told yet again on Saturday that “you’re too nice you are” and the reality light bulb suddenly came on. I have been way too nice and people have taken advantage of that but I am now very awake to it. I’ve made a vow to be stronger in that respect, I’m not going to let that happen anymore. This has nothing to do with the last 2 weeks surrounding our family loss, although I guess the conversation on the Monday prior to the funeral showed I was not going to let people walk all over me, and that I will tell people when they are out of order. I will always be who I am, I don’t want to change that but I’m going to be a stronger person. I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to this position.
I managed to keep it together and stay strong over those awful 2 weeks but to the detriment of self care. I realised this just in time before things spiralled downwards. I didn’t pop the bubble I was trapped in, my family and friends did that for me because I couldn’t see a way out. I was also being too hard on myself by feeling guilt that wasn’t warranted. There is no good or bad time during times of grief but we know that time can not stand still. You have to carry on living in the ‘new norm’. I still can’t get past this heavy heart but I can get by with it. Don’t rush anything and if your not ready then wait until you are. Only you know when it’s time to pop that bubble but just be mindful it doesn’t close in and consume you. If that starts to happen then reach out, talk to someone about how you are feeling. Allowing someone else to pop the bubble your trapped in is not a sign of weakness, to ask for help is a sign of strength. One day you will be able to cope with the ‘new norm’, whatever the situation is. Lastly, just be patient with yourself and know that you matter to.