I hope you are all doing well. I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been in a bad head space for a few weeks, life continues to throw challenges my way, and I haven’t been coping that well.
Soon after my last post T developed flu-like symptoms and was clearly unwell and spent much of the time in bed.
On 26 May it was my birthday, you know one of those ‘big ones’ with a big fat zero at the end. It wasn’t the best birthday, T was very sick and although I did get a couple of visitors to be honest I really didn’t feel that sociable.
Our holiday was booked to start on 29 May and the night before I suggested to T that we cancel and stay at home instead, but he insisted he felt a little better each day and wanted us to go. So we packed up and went as planned.
I knew that we wouldn’t be able to do much in the way of walking or activity but I thought all we had to do was chill out and take things easy. I packed a whole bag of art supplies to keep myself occupied so it wouldn’t matter of we didn’t go out at all.
The cottage was exactly as advertised and the area – near to Lyme Regis in Dorset – is lovely. The weather was not brilliant, in fact it was a bit chilly at times but the cottage had good heating so that wasn’t a problem. BUT it was not a good holiday, in fact it was stressful and difficult for both of us. T became really unwell physically and mentally and we both really struggled to cope. We both ended up depressed and despondent and it was definitely not the rest and recuperation I had been hoping for.
Before T became unwell I was feeling a bit flat and lost as I’d come to the end of months of treatment but had no idea whether or not it has worked. I’ve joined a cancer forum online and found out that this often happens to people when they reach the end of treatment . All the while you are being treated it feels like you are doing something about it but then it stops and you feel like you are left in limbo all on your own. So I was already feeling low and then when T became unwell it was like a double whammy and I fell apart a bit.
Over a week after arriving home things are finally slowly beginning to improve for both of us. We managed to see a local doctor earlier in the week and he told us that heart surgery can sometimes trigger depression in patients and the heart medication might be affecting the other meds T takes for his Bipolar Disorder. It’s certainly been a rough old ride on the emotional roller-coaster recently and neither of us have dealt with it particularly well.
It’s a bit of a shame that the medical profession seems to treat symptoms but not the ‘whole person’ in retrospect it’s pretty obvious that heart problems are going to trigger a bipolar episode but we had nothing in place to deal with it when it did. I just wish I was better at dealing with it, but when T is in that big black hole of depression, even though I know it’s not personal, I can’t help but feel alone and depressed too.
So, anyway I didn’t get to do any art while we were away apart from the lettering on the page above. The atmosphere was just too tense and not conducive to being creative. I tried really hard to put into practice all those things I know about being mindful, not listening to the thoughts going round and round in my head and just deciding to be happy. Writing that quote in my journal was a message to myself that I don’t have to be defeated by the stuff life throws at me. A few times I was successful and managed to lift my mood, but most of the time, despite my best endeavours, I felt defeated and despondent. Clearly I need to practice a lot more!
While we were on holiday I went out a couple of times on my own and I discovered a fantastic cafe in Bridport called the Soulshine Cafe there is a lovely vibe there and I found it just at a time when I really needed some sunshine for my soul. I also saw a fantastic exhibition at Bridport Arts Centre by the A Level students of Colfox and Beaminster School. It was really good, so much talent! I spent ages there looking at the art and browsing through the students’ sketchbooks and then had a long conversation with the lady who was volunteering at the exhibition.
On the Monday after we returned from holiday I went on my own to see the Oncologist at Southampton Hospital. He examined me and asked me some questions about how I was and said things ‘look OK’. After a bit of a discussion about whether or not I should return to the local hospital he made me an appointment to see him again at Southampton in 3 months time. Before that I will need to have another CT scan and on the day I’ll have a blood test, so hopefully I’ll find out more then. At the moment it seems we are playing the ‘wait and see’ game.
I am so pleased that all the treatment is over now. Physically I feel good and I’m not overly worried about my health at present. I know it’s early days yet but I’m really hoping that it’s all over now. Next week I will be starting my phased return to work after almost 8 months sick leave and I’m looking forward to getting some normality back into my life. I am a bit anxious because I’ve been away from the work environment for such a long time, but my employers have been very understanding and my colleagues have been keeping in contact with me, it will be fine and fun once I get back into it, all I have to do is ‘get up, dress up and show up’ and start getting on with the rest of my life now.
The page above is in my small journal and here is what it looked like before the penwork:
That’s all for now, take good care of yourselves, and I promise I will work on improving my mood before I post again.
Big love AJ xxx 🙂
And here is a video of another old journal 🙂
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