Railway Children, Mumsnet and Aviva – Please Help

People tell me, sometimes, that they can’t believe how much I put on the internet. My real name, the name of my son and husband, my general location, my health issues, both mental and physical.

But what they don’t realize is how much I don’t put on the internet. About my childhood. About my parent’s divorce. About my journey from being a troubled child and teenager to being an adult with those mental illnesses.

About my running away.

I’ve run away twice in my life, once when I was about 13 and once when I was 25.

30 years on I have no idea why I ran away when I was 13. A fight with my mom and step-dad no doubt. About…who knows?

But run I did. Out the door and down the street and, I remember, to the left. To the right was known and led to major roads they would be able to find me on. To the left was unknown and led to I didn’t know where.

I was just looking at a map and I can’t remember how far I went or where I ended up. I do know a nice lady stopped and tried to help me, but I jumped out of her car at a light, stories of kidnapped children in my head. And then was picked up by the police and taken home; the nice lady had called them. It was dark and cold at that point. I was gone for at least a few hours.

My parents were, of course, relieved. My step-sister, who was home from college, was really mad, but still ran me a bath to warm me up.

I have no idea what my mom said to the police to get them to just leave me and not investigate further. But that’s what happened.

And I was lucky. I was on the street for hours. Not days or months. And at this point, I don’t remember the aftermath. In what way, if at all, I was punished. All I remember was thinking I had to get away from them. From myself. From my pain.

My second running away at 25 was the beginning of my mental breakdown that led to my diagnoses today. But that one was by car, with my cat and isn’t what this post is about.

It’s about runaway children. It’s because Mumsnet and Railway Children and Aviva have come together to help young runaways. The ones who don’t get taken back home in hours. The ones who are on the streets. The ones whose home lives are probably filled with horrors I can’t even imagine; horrors that make the streets better than home.

For every blog post, every Tweet, every Facebook status, every comment on this blog and all the others writing about this, Aviva will donate £2 to Railway Children, up to £200,000 by the end of 2013. Money that will go towards helping runaways, like I might have become.

If not for one nice lady and some police.

I Do Like It When My House Is Clean

Too bad I have to, you know, actually clean it, to get it that way.

I admit, sometimes it’s pretty gross. Fibro flare usually means cleaning drops right down my list of things to use spoons on. So, yes, sometimes my bathrooms are growing things.

There. I said it.

This is part of why I don’t like people just dropping by. I need at least a few hours notice to run a sponge around the place and disinfect.

I used to not be like that. I used to keep a very clean bathroom and kitchen, at least. Used to hate a dirty bathroom or kitchen.

So what happened?

Depression. Fibro. Three year old boys.

All things that have taken precedence over a clean house.

These days some things are a given. The dishes are all washed before bed. The table and kitchen counters are cleaned. The tub gets rinsed regularly.

Other than that?

Call before you come over.


Fighting The Black Dog

Today is the launch of a Mental Health Blogging Carnival here at Bundance.

The timing is interesting as I am currently fighting the Black Dog myself today. After feeling really well for ages today I’m just not. No idea why.

Do take a look at the carnival. Lots of great blogs by lots of great bloggers.

Let’s get talking. Let’s fight the Black Dog.

So I Haven’t Written About My Health in Awhile

Mostly because there is so much other stuff going on. But, truthfully, I’m not doing very well.

Part of it is all the stuff I am trying to get done with the move. Although we are paying for the moving company to pack us, I still have a lot of sorting and organizing to do, along with cleaning the flat to ‘leaving’ level. A lot of that cleaning will happen next Sunday after all of our stuff is moved out, but I am doing some of it over the next week.

All that bending and stretching and leaning and pushing and pulling means I am sore. A lot sore.

Muscles anterior labeledAll the places I am sore.*

It’s not helping that I am not resting as much as I should, and I know this. On a regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday, when Adam is in daycare, I usually work in the morning, have lunch, work for about another hour and then have a rest until pick up time. I haven’t been doing that this past week or so, so I can get more done, and probably won’t be doing it this next week either for the same reason.

I am also, of course, working. Major stuff going on with my biggest client. Other majorish stuff going on with another client. Possibly another client in the pipeline.

The good news is that my mental state is excellent.

But I’m going to be sore and tired for awhile. I’ll try to not be too cranky!

*Having the ‘are pictures necessary’ debate on MN again. Still think it’s silly in this instance. I mean, do you really need that image?!?!

I Was Very Brave

One thing that heightens my anxiety is having to take a bus to somewhere I’ve only been once or never been at all. I have a total panic that I will get on the wrong bus and get lost. That panic is heightened when Adam is with me.

The rational side  of me realizes, of course, that if I wind up on the wrong bus I can always get off and call a taxi. Especially as I have an account with a local firm so I don’t even need to have any cash on me.

The anxious side is postive I will be lost forever, Adam and I wandering around Belfast, alone, hungry and, probably, needing a pee.

So when I get on the bus I always confirm it is going where I think it is. For some reason this annoys Belfast drivers. I have no idea how tourists cope. I also put the destination address in my GPS on my phone so I can keep an eye as to when I need to get off.

So Adam and I were off to view a house today. I have been to this part of Belfst before, just not by bus. I had a pretty good idea where I was going, but because it was the first time going on a bus, I was anxious. So I confirmed with the driver that the bus was going where I thought it was going, he grumbled but confirmed. So I got on, settle Adam’s pram in the wheelchair space (fully intending to move if a wheelchair user needed it. It was our smaller push chair, so easy to fold if necessary) and sat down with my phone in hand to watch the progress of the bus.

Except the bus went what appeared to me to be 100% the wrong way. Small panic. I breathed and kept an eye on the map and the street signs and my watch. I had left plenty of time. And the bus still seemed to be going the wrong way. And I contimplated getting off. Or asking the driver again if the bus was going where I thought it was. But they don’t typically answer questions when driving. And then he made a right. And went around a roundabout. And we were suddenly going the right way again! Whew.

I got to my stop and got off, thanking the driver. And we went and saw the house. Which would have been a great place to live for the right price except that it had no bathtub!! Forget the fact that showers scare Adam and I think he’s too young for a shower, anyway. I cannot live without a bathtub.

So I got another bus home. And now that I knew which way the bus actually went I didn’t panic on the way home.

I felt very brave.

And I was.


After a month of a sick child equalling very bad or very little sleep my memory and aphasia have, once again, taken a nose dive. When this happens I always start thinking about memory and memories in general.

I have very few childhood memories. I have no idea why this is but you’ll find my brother says the same thing. Makes me wonder, sometimes, what we’ve both blocked.

The memories I do have are (mostly) good ones.

I remember being in our condo in Manchester Connecticut and my dad bought a new stereo that could record tapes and my brother and I making a recording and getting called to dinner. I remember then wondering why all that time at dinner wasn’t a big empty space on the tape.

I remember my dad’s CB radio in our playroom of our first house in Westport.

I also remember having cousins or maybe friends over to stay and we were all sleeping down in that same playroom and there was a burning smell (I was asleep) and I woke up to a house full of firemen because we had placed a sofa cushion over a light and it had burned.

I remember sitting under the big tree in front of that same house crying as my divorcing parents fought in the living room. My brother was with me.

I remember the poem my step-dad wrote me when I got my stereo for my birthday. Not exactly what it said but that he went to the trouble. Something about ‘always trying to do what she aughta.’ He was lying. :O)

I remember packing my car to drive to Iowa to go to University.

And every time Adam climbs up on a piece of furniture I remember a picture. It is of me as quite a small baby, only a few months old, if that. My mom is holding me on a sun lounger in the backyard of our house in Holliston MA and my brother, who is only 22 months older than me,  is in the act of climbing up to join us. Adam climbs just like his uncle.

I do often wonder, though, what I’ve forgotten…

Reflections on a Year

Well…over 13 months.

Anyway, as Adam and I gear up for our next big adventure, him starting day nursery and me having free time away from him on a regular basis, I’ve started to reflect on the past year.

As this year has gone by there have been some truly horrible moments.  Moments when I’ve sat crying, Adam in my arms, exhausted, overwhelmed, aching with arthritis and fibro and depression, knowing Simon wouldn’t be home from work for hours.  Knowing that I couldn’t even call him and ask him to come home early because he told me about a big meeting or he’s teaching at a far away campus.  And wondering if I was the most selfish person in the world for having a baby with all my health issues, both mental and physical.

So I asked my sister, was I? Was I incredibly selfish to have Adam?

And she was, as always, brutally honest.  She said, you well know that I had reservations and worries when you got pregnant.  That your brother and I were both worried about your mental health and physical health issues.  And you know what? We worried for nothing.  You are a wonderful mother.  Adam is thriving.  Your company is taking off.  So, no.  You were not selfish to have Adam.  You wanted a baby and you had a wonderful one.

And I cried.  And I cry as I write this.  Because saying it out loud was hard enough.

Finding out I was wrong? Was even harder.

Because it showed me something I’ve never wanted to believe about myself.  I am just like everyone else in the world.  I have doubts.  I am, at times, hard on myself.

And I hate that.  I hate that I care what others think sometimes.  I hate that I question my ability to be Adam’s Mummy.

Because Adam is indeed thriving.  Not just because he’s 31 inches tall and weighs 28 pounds.  But because he’s starting to talk.  And walk.  And feed himself.  So he doesn’t talk English and he stumbles and the spoon is usually up side down?

He’s learning.

And so’s his mum.

I Felt Like Such A Bad Mother The Other Day

Anyone who reads this blog for anything more than 2 seconds knows that I have quite a few health problems.  Fibromyalgia.  Type II diabetes.  Anxiety Disorder.  Borderline Agoraphobia.  Early Degenerative Disease.

And I do everything in my power to not let these  things affect the care of my son.  I had a horrible fibro flair a few months ago and I managed to take care of him.

And then came this past Wednesday morning.  When I woke up with a borderline migraine.

Now, other than a reaction to some stuff I took for my fibro right after diagnosis, I haven’t had a migraine in ages.  I never have any warning that I am going to get them.  They just show up.

So when Adam got me up about 530 Wednesday morning, I was hurting.  And nauseated.  And ready to steel myself to get through the day.  I certainly could not ask Simon to take the day off.  I would manage.

And then Simon got up for work.  And took one look at me and said ‘Do you want me to stay home?’

At first I said no, no way.  I can manage.  I have to manage.

But he kept asking.  And when it got to the point that I thought for sure I was going to have to puke I finally said ‘yes, please, stay home. I need to go back to bed.’  And I did.

And I felt like the worse mother ever.  Mother’s are suppose to muddle through, no matter what.  They are suppose to put everything to one side; pain, illness, sleep, to care for their children.  And I just couldn’t on Wednesday.

I know, if Simon hadn’t been able to stay home, or had been on one of his trips, I would have managed.  But I still felt horrible that I didn’t manage.  That I, in the end, leapt at the chance to stay in bed for the day and not have to manage.

I know I am lucky that Simon could do that.  And I am very thankful for it.

But, still, I felt like a bad mother.

Of course, most anything can make a person feel like a bad mother.  There is so much competition out there, so much ‘my baby does this’ and ‘how can you not do that’.

Well, I lay enough guilt on myself for the decisions I make, I have decided to not play the ‘my baby is better than yours’ game.  I refuse.

Although I am looking for a baby yoga or baby signing class, its part of the reason I am so reluctant to join a Mummy and Baby group.

That and the fact I’ll probably be about 20 years older than all of them.

Yesterday I Woke Up With Very Few Spoons

What that means.

It actually started at about 330am when either I was awoken by Adam needing me or I woke Adam because I moaned in pain in my sleep.  My upper arms and my thighs hurt with every move.  I was having the worst Fibro flare I’ve had since having my son.

Lucky for me Adam settled back down after about a half an hour of playing ‘find me my dummy mummy’ and slept until 630.  That extra 2.5 hours helped a lot.

When Simon woke up for work at 7 I told him how much pain I was in.  Well, he could see it, as I limped around the flat and groaned as I reached for the peanut butter for breakfast.  He offered to stay home but it was really important to me to be able to take care of my son no matter what.  So Simon did bits of help (the most important being getting a coffee cup down for me!) and then headed off to work.

Adam and I had no plans yesterday, although I was hoping to walk up to the park.  Instead we stayed home.  He spent a lot more time in his bouncy chair than he normally would, but other than that, it was a normal day.  Right up to and including his 230 ‘I’m exhausted but I don’t want to sleep’ crank which can only be soothed by walking him around and singing silly songs to him until he’s so tired he falls asleep.

By around lunchtime I was feeling somewhat better, although I still couldn’t lift my arms over my head.  And I was exhausted.  I did ring Simon at one point and ask if he could even come home an hour early, it would help, but if he couldn’t, I’d continue to manage.

And manage I did.  My son was fed, dry, warm and happy.  Maybe he didn’t get as many snuggles as usual, but he still got tummy time on Mummy and Daddy’s bed while Mummy got dressed.  Maybe Mummy didn’t spend as much time  bouncing him on her knee as she usual does (he loves that) but she did sit next to him while he was in his chair and talked to him and tickled him.

When I got pregnant my family’s major concern was how I would cope with my mental health issues.  Mentally, I’ve been fine.  Oh sure, I’ve had sad days, who doesn’t?  And I’ve had some major anxiety and panic attacks.  But none of these have affected taking care of my son.

And yesterday I proved my Fibro doesn’t either.

I May Have Ranted About This Before

but I am going to rant about it again!

I take two meds for my mental health issues; Xanax, for anxiety and Trazodone for depression.

Each of these meds has been mentioned on TV shows I watch.  And misrepresented.

Trazodone was mentioned on NCIS once.  Abbey claimed that someone on it would be so knocked out by it there was no way they could have killed themselves.  Not necessarily true.  Yes, it makes you sleepy.  But I take it every night, granted at a low dose for the moment, and still wake up fully as soon as my little man needs me.  Perhaps at massive doses you’d be completely knocked out.  But I used to take a much larger dose and it still didn’t make me incoherent when woken up from it.

Xanax was mentioned on West Wing.  Abbey (heh, both characters are named Abbey.  I just realized this!) takes a Xanax in front of Leo.  Leo gives her a lecture on addiction and meds, comparing Xanax to Valium.  Um, not the same thing.  At all.  Yes, Xanax is addictive.  Yes, you have to wean yourself off it. No, it will not put you into rehab.  You see, with Valium, you have to keep upping the dose to get the same effect.  This is not true with Xanax.  When you find what dose works for you, you can stay at the dose forever and it will continue to work for you.  And as Abbey was taking it as needed (a very common occurrence with Xanax) she probably never took more than .25mg. A teeny tiny dosage.

So, listen up TV people.  Maybe it makes better drama to give NCIS a reason to suspect suicide was actually murder and to make it seem like the First Lady was going to be a drug addict.  But it does nothing for the image of mental illness.

The key word there, you see, is illness.  It is an illness. Whether anxiety, depression, MPD, schizophrenia or what have you.  The person is ill.  My mental illness is just as much a treatable illness as my diabetes.

And I work hard to treat both of them.