Difficult times

Its been the strangest few months for me to live through recently. Right from September of 2015 till early Jan this new year, I’ve had quite a lot to deal with; so I took my time in recuperating my strength emotionally and physically from it all and I feel like I can finally talk about it.

I mentioned in one of recent posts about an imminent house move and then just disappeared out of the radar in the blogging land! I’m pretty sure nobody really missed me or the updates I would have posted; but for the sake of continuity, i’ll pick it up from where I last stopped and take it from there.

We moved
The move finally happened! yay! After living in a tiny but gorgeous flat for 8 years we finally moved into a house with a backyard and plenty of space. It was the most tiresome thing I had ever done in a while though. Phew!

I had to spend a good deal of time, elbow grease and money in getting our oldflat back into shape before vacating it, just so we could have a chance of getting some, if not most of the deposit from the estate agents. After 8 years of living in a tiny flat, there were sellotape patches on the wall from fixing birthday decorations, iron-shaped burn marks on the carpet, layers of grease plastered on top of the kitchen hood and then, there was my beloved oven which gave me countless hours of baking pleasure, which needed to be deep cleaned. Luckily for me, I happen to be a closet DIY queen!  I patched wall papers, painted walls and doors, fixed door handles and scrubbed my old oven down until I could see my reflection in it! I even managed to salvage my carpet in the living room floor with the iron-shaped marks in without replacing it, which would have ended up really expensive. What hard work it was. However it worked, and we got the full deposit back from the agents! Get in!!

Aftermath of a house move!
That was just the begining of all the back-breaking work that awaited us as part of the move into our bigger house. Once we had moved, we stuffed all of the boxes in the reception room leading to the  kitchen and filled it right upto the doorway! I still cry when an image of that room with all the boxes crosses my mind! I felt at the time that I would never get through all the boxes or have a presentable house to invite guests and friends to! Unbeknown to myself, I was slowly feeling depleted and tired.

With my husband unable to take any days of work, I did most of the unpacking, sorting and discarding by myself, all with a fussy toddler on tow. Here’s a fascinating tidbit for you – toddlers don’t like house moves! oh what screams and tears I encountered in trying to explain to my son that we are not going back to our lovely old flat! Hmmm, poor bunny, he was clueless and upset the first few weeks of our stay in the new house.

Signs of a breakdown
Days after moving into our new house, I found myself getting overwhelmed over the tiniest of decisions. Everything made me teary. Deciding which cup to make my tea in; not being able to locate items among the sea of boxes; deciding what clothes to wear;even deliberating if I should eat was stressful! So one monday morning, I decided to go on a walk with my son in a pushchair, hoping the fresh air will clear my mind and help me relax. Little did I know, that my day would take a turn for the worse.

Caught in the bog
Just a couple of roads down my house is a wonderful semi wooded area adjoining a popular local park where my son and I have always played when the weather is nice. To get to the park I have to maneouvre the pushchair with my son in it through a few small bridges and then across a large empty playing field. Although it wasn’t a particularly cold, windy or wet day, it had been raining a little bit the previous few days and I had no clue of it as I was in a personal hell of my own dealing with the aftermath of a housemove! We started out all bouncy and cheery singing my son’s favourite rhymes along the start and got through two bridges and started crossing the playing field. To my utter horror, the fields were soaking wet and soft and I struggled to get through it with the pushchair. Still I soldiered on and reached the other end only to realise that I still had to get over a small but steep grassy mound to get to the entrance of the park.

The rest is not something I am particularly going to enjoy typing. However it was a pivotal moment that kind of symbolized what I have been going through recently. Naively I started pushing the pushchair up the wet grassy slope and I would go only a few steps before sliding dangerously back down. My boots were muddied up and so were the pushchair wheels. I thought that if I tried one more time, maybe I would go over the slope and then we can relax and play around in the park. So I tried pushing with all my strength and came sliding down again. I told my little boy to get up and climb the slope and that I would follow him with the pushchair. He willingly got down and tried to climb up on his own. We both slided down this time and landed on our behinds. My son started crying looking at the squelchy mud in his gloved hands and trousers. I was quite ready to burst into tears myself by then, but decided on helping my boy get back up. I told him to reach out his hand so I can grab it and he couldn’t reach out to me far enough. In the frustration of the moment, telling him turned into shouting at him. It confused him that I would shout at him for something he wasn’t able to do. All the frustration and panic I was experiencing triggered an anxiety attack. I felt like I would never get out of the slippery slope or the marshy field I just struggled crossing over. I couldn’t think clearly or decide what to do next. There werent too many people around either. Usually the place is a hotspot for friendly folks walking their dogs in the nearby woods. Unfortunately not too many were around on that day.

Somehow, through screaming at my son and getting too frustrated with myself, I managed to grab hold of my son and put him back in the pushchair. He made it quite clear that he wasn’t going to walk around with mud all over him after the fall. So I decided to turn back around and retrace my steps to go home. If that had been the end of the miserable time I had that day, I probably would still have been ok. However, there was more disaster waiting for me!

With less energy than when I first started out and even lesser patience, I headed back to cross the marshy playing field. This time, it felt like the whole universe that conspired against me cause I just wasn’t able to budge the pushchair any further and I was well and truly stuck in the squelchy mud. Hot tears sprang to my eyes and I felt I’d been abandoned in a world far away from civilisation. Somehow I made my way through the field a little way and saw a man walking his dog some distance away. I shouted out to him and asked him to help me carry the pushchair or atleast help me push it. Just then his excitable dog came up and tried to reach up to me in a friendly way and caught me completely off guard in doing so. Now I am not afraid of dogs but I am not particularly fond of them either. So I have never really wanted to pet or be close to a dog or cat ever in my life. This dog had other plans though!  He was so friendly and wanted to see if I would perhaps play with him or something and reached out to me while standing on his hind legs. I got the fright of my life in that marsh and tried to get it off me. By the time I managed to get him off, he had smeared his muddy paws all over my lovely cream feather and down coat! Cue, deep breaths!

After pulling his dog away from me by the collar and apologising to me profusely, the owner offered to carry the bottom end of the pushchair while I carried the top end. While struggling to move our feet in the squelchy mud, the dog started to get too excitable again and wouldn’t let him help me! Seeing that his dog might cause more trouble, he pointed me in the right direction and said he is sorry he couldn’t be of much help. And off he went. Sigh. There I was back in the rut again and on my own, despite reaching out to someone this time. In hindsight now, the way that I’d felt at the marsh fields was exactly the way I’d been feeling for many years now.

Still feeling rather anxious and even angry, I pushed my way through the wet field slowly on my own. My boy had started crying again in confusion by then and instead of calming him down, I took to shouting at him to calm himself down. That clearly didn’t help! Cause he started crying even louder! Reaching into my now fully muddied pocket of my down coat, I took my phone out and rang my husband. He’d only said hello, and I started crying and told him that I can’t take life anymore. Between tears I managed to tell him where I was and what happened. It was just 10 am and he’d been at work only a few hours. He panicked and told me to wait so he can come and get me. It would be another 40 minutes even if he whizzed through the traffic lights all the way from his work place. So after hanging up, I pushed the pushchair with all the remaining energy I had and got to the other end of playing fields. My boots, my coat, my gloves were all dirty; and so were my son’s. He’d managed to stop crying by now and I ran all the way back to the front door of my home, not wanting any of my new neighbours to see me in my current state.

After what seemed like ages, my husband eventually came home and saw the trail of our boots, coats and pushchair, all horribly muddied for any kind of reuse. All it took was for him to walk to me and place his hand on my shoulder and I burst into a million pieces, wailing uncontrollably. I wailed for a long while. It shocked my husband to see what he had returned to after saying bye to me before going to work this morning. I had broken down.

Thinking back, it felt like I was doomed to have a miserable day. That I had to be brought to a grinding halt so I could admit that I needed help. Because I am not used to asking for help. I had to breakdown somehow. And I did. What caused my breakdown? Well, it wasnt just the stressful event of moving house and struggling to cope with a toddler on my own. It was more than that. I have come to realize that I have a moutain of issues that I’ve turned a blind eye to. Issues from way back in my childhood; from my marriage of 8 years; and just from being an overworked, underappreciated mother and wife in the recent few years. I am used to soldiering on. I had to change my tack though. Cause I’d been stuck in a rut for years in a number of areas in my life although I was unwilling to accept it or seek help for it.

But seek help I did, this time around. I started by taking the medication I was prescribed for clinical depression last Jan 2015. I was too proud to rely on medication or admit that I was suffering with depression at the time, despite my GP encouraging me to take it. It made me feel dazed during the day and gave me insomnia at nighttime. However it started to make me feel a bit sane almost immediately. Stable, at the least. The weeping and the anxious thoughts in my head briefly stopped, allowing me to just be. Hubby offered to take a few days off to look after our boy and to cook and be there for me. I’d morphed into a completely different person by then. Drugged up but somewhat sane and calm .

Help also came in the form of a chance encounter with the pastor from my church. Sitting at his office, I poured out all that had been going on in my head and in my heart the past few weeks and months. He patiently listened, prayed for us and then sign posted me to a counselor in the church.  So here I am after 3 sessions with the counselor and feeling like I can finally breathe. No, things arent still a 100% ok. However I’m putting up a good fight and have recovered a great deal.

I’m going to save the rest of my thoughts for another post as this one has become rather long already. I hope that you have had a better start to this year than I have had; if not, hang in there.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
                                                                                                 Psalm 30:5