The Show Must Go On

I’m struggling today. I need to write how I feel because it helps me and maybe in helping myself I can help you too?

The anxiety isn’t as severe as it has been. It’s a manageable 6/10 but my numerous annoying ailments have decided to come out and play at the same time. My neck is sore. My tinnitus is driving me INSANE and I have the beginnings of yet another migraine.

I try to look at the positives. As in, I’m still alive. I wasn’t one of the 151,600 people in the world that died yesterday. I’m still here. Yet it’s like trying to drive on a flat tyre. Only in my case, a new tyre isn’t an option. The tyre represents my brain and I can’t just go out and buy a new brain. Unless Ebay have started selling brains?

A lot of the things I am experiencing today are not actually anxiety symptoms. I’m 47, therefore it’s natural for there to be wear and tear, especially as most of my jobs were heavy manual work. I’m only five foot one with a small frame so I’ve put a lot of strain on my body over the years. What can I say? You do what you have to do to put food on the table.

Due to my autism, these little annoyances become amplified and it has to be said that anxiety, while it doesn’t cause them, DOES make them feel worse. Stress hormones affect the bones and joints and I’ve always noticed that when I go through a phase of increased anxiety – my aliments are worse. Obviously, the answer is to address my anxiety and all these other things should start to improve. This doesn’t mean that I don’t feel pissed off though. I’ve forgotten what it is to feel ‘well’ because it’s been that long since I felt that way. Another thing that pisses me off is that I never appreciated good health when I had it. I used to hear older people say, ‘You don’t appreciate good health until it’s gone’. Too farking true, me dears.

I get it. I’m middle-aged, post-menopausal and slightly mad. How can I expect to feel like I did in my twenties or thirties? I’m lacking the necessary hormones for a start. My body is crumbling like Cheshire cheese. I’m getting older and let me tell you that it comes around TOO DAMN FAST. It seems like yesterday that I was snogging Nick Rhodes on my bedroom wall. Now I can see 50 waving at me (hopefully) and with that comes the realisation that I am well over half way through my life, if the three score years and ten is to be believed? Sobering thought, eh? Enough to make one want to pissed, only I can’t drink because I have ANXIETY.

Another way of looking at it and probably THE best way is not to mourn my youth but to thank my stars that I have a decent amount of life to look back on. Health wise, that is.

I lost my friend to cancer last year. She was one year older than me with so much more to give, especially to her eight year old son. When I think of what she went through it makes me guilty about whinging on about stuff. She’d have given anything for my problems to be hers instead of the cancer which was invading her body at an alarming rate. However, if you are reading this and thinking that her death should have been enough to make me ‘get a grip’, then my friend, you have NEVER experienced anxiety disorder because it is an illness. I’m not talking about the normal anxiety that every human being experiences, like the nervousness before a job interview or those few seconds after you hear a loud bang. I’m talking about the kind of anxiety that’s debilitating and destructive. It’s a very real illness. Just not one that can be seen. It’s effects, however, are visible to all. If you look close enough, you will see the fear in their eyes. You will see the tremor in their hands. You will notice their inability to be still. If you are sensitive enough, you may even smell their fear. These are the outer signs of a body that’s fucked up due to stress.

Thankfully, I know that recovery from mental illness is achievable for most of us and if it can’t be cured, it can definitely be managed to give quality of life. That thought acts as a light when my skies are dark. Another light comes in the form of my children. A funny text or a phone call from my eldest boys. Or today when I woke up to a dark inner sky. A sleepy voice said, “Cuddle me mama?” and some of those dark clouds lifted. Not enough to make all of this sodding crap go away but enough for me to have the energy and will to keep fighting it.

If you are struggling with anxiety, know this. You will win some battles and you will lose some but you CAN win the war. It really isn’t about how many times you fall down but about how many times you get up again. I know you are tired. I know your soul is weary but KEEP GETTING UP. Even when your legs feel so heavy you don’t think they can support you. THEY WILL. They are STRONGER than you think. YOU are stronger than you think. Rest if you need to but then you must get back up.

Life is a show and we must get on with it as best we can because this isn’t the rehearsal. There never was one in this show called ‘Life’. So, do that pile of ironing, even if it you do it sitting down and it takes you ALL DAY. Walk the dog. Hoover up. ON WITH THE SHOW!

The show must go on
I’ll face it with a grin
I’m never giving in
On with the show.

The Show Must Go On ~ Queen ~ Brian May

 

The Decade That Spawned Me ~ Technology

I feel fortunate to have been born in the 70s because it was a decade of relative simplicity and family. Then along came the 80s with it’s affordable electronics and the cracks started to appear in family life and, well, it’s all gone a bit shit.

The chart topping ‘Video killed The Radio Star’ was released in 1979. The song promoted technology but also warned of it’s effects…

Video_Killed_the_Radio_Star_single_cover

Oh a oh!

At the start of the 70s it was very much about family as highlighted in the six part series, Back In Time For The Weekend where the Ashby-Hawkins family, having experienced life from the 1950s through to the 2000s, said that the 70s had the ‘perfect balance’ of convenience and family values before households were ‘splintered’ by technology.

I agree and I should know because I was there, flares and everything.

When it came to entertaining ourselves, we had to be imaginative. My brother and I were dressed, fed and turfed out during weekends and holidays with orders not to return until dinner time. Mum wasn’t being neglectful, it was simply the era’s ‘no shit approach’ to parenting and it was no bad thing because we were out in the fresh air, keeping fit and making memories. I can’t help but wonder if children today will remember the hours spent hunched over their mobile phones with the same level of nostalgia?

‘remMbR dat tym we wer @ McDonalds & we wer aL on our phones @ d sAm tym txtN Ech other?’

Can’t see it myself.

We did stuff. We made tents out of BED SHEETS and you know how parents spend trillions of pounds on electronic paraphernalia for kids today? Well we made skipping ropes out of old washing lines. HARD PLASTIC washing lines that hurt like buggery when they whacked you on the back of the legs. Can you imagine handing kids today an old washing line to play with? They’d probably stand there trying to work where to plug it in, no?

Today’s kids are about ALL about technology and The Boy is no different. He has the electronic devices and his DS is invaluable when it comes to distraction when we’re out and about. However, I’m an old fart who knows the importance of things that don’t require batteries (or a socket) so he has plenty of stuff that only requires imagination and no matter what you’ve heard, autistic children do have an imagination.

When it comes to ‘gaming’, in the 70s, we had ‘Pong’.

Pong

Obviously by today’s standards, it’s shit, but in my day it was cutting edge stuff. We had it on a console and we’d play it if the weather was bad enough (torrential rain, blizzards etc) to keep us in but the constant BLIP-BLIP-BLIP did Mum’s head in and it often went missing for weeks on end. Fancy?!

Thursdays was Top of the Pops night. We had Jimmy saVILE and the other deviants masquerading as DJs entertaining us in our front room. Urgh. Where are the Men in Black with their neuralyzers?

Also, GET THIS. Our TV had THREE channels and our telly had two remotes – me and my brother. We were fitter in those days, if nothing else..

Children’s TV accounted for all of about two hours a day and most programmes were crap. Like Pipkins. Pipkins was crap but it was addictive crap. Hartley Hare always looked like he had a bad case of Mixi, to me. I mean, LOOK AT HIM!

Somebody put it out of it’s misery ffs…

My own family has been seduced by technology. I SWORE I’d never have a Kindle. I SCOFFED at the idea of an electronic book but then OH beguiled me with the convenience of being able to buy a book whilst wearing my rollers and a flannelette nightie and I was like, ‘How soon can I have one?’

The experience of living in the 70s for the TV show changed Steph Ashby’s relationship with technology because she could see the impact that it had on family life and as a result took steps to use technology more selectively. Her daughter quit Facebook (yeah, right) and the entire family reduced their time on social media.

What I’ve taken away from that is that it’s the time spent with people that is really important and making sure that we don’t let things like technology get in the way.

I agree wholeheartedly with you, Mrs, and I will do my utmost to ensure my family do not become total slaves to technology. However, maybe it’s the case that…

We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far.

Up Yours! (My Colonoscopy)

Shopping List

  • 24 pack of EXTRA SOFT bog roll
  • LARGE tub of Sudocrem
  • Five packs of soothing bum wipes
  • Lemonade (to disguise taste of laxative)
  • Aromatherapy candle (to disguise smell of poo)
  • Plastic bed sheet (just in case)
  • Extra undies (just in case)

48 hours Before Colonoscopy

Ate like a pig.

24 hours Before Colonoscopy

7am. Woke up.

7.02 am – 9am. Had 19 cups of tea and an egg on toast.

9 am onwards. No milk in drinks. No food. Can only eat clear jellies, Bovril, clear soups and boiled sweets. *weeps*

12.30pm. FOOKING STARVING!!!

12.35 pm. Lemon jelly for dinner (which didn’t touch the sides)

12.45. Heard OH opening a packet of crisps and wanted to end his life.

12.55. Saw picture of somebody’s chips on Instagram and started to cry.

1pm. Banned myself from Instagram.

1.30. Had a Bovril.

3.30. Felt faint with hunger.

4.30. Had bowl of clear soup and another Bovril.

5pm LAXATIVE OF DOOM TIME!!

Smells like cleaning fluid but doesn’t actually taste that bad..

5.22. One glass down, seven to go..

5.55. Two glasses down, six to go..

6.14. Three glasses down, five to go..

6.45 Four glasses down, four to go,

6.46 Had some stirrings in the bowel region..

6.50 THE WORLD FELL OUT OF MY ARSE!!!

7pm – 8pm FIFTEEN trips to the loo.

ROUND TWO OF LAXATIVE OF DOOM

8.23 Five glasses down, three to go..

8.55  Six glasses down, two to go..

9.23 Seven glasses down, one to go

9.53 Done

29 trips to the loo in total!

My bum hole after 29 trips to the loo

The Colonoscopy

I made myself a promise that I would write an honest, but humourous, account of my colonoscopy so here goes..

I arrived at the hospital at 8.45 am armed with my Kindle ready for a long wait but it didn’t happen because I was called in fairly quickly, so I was winning already.

First job was to put one of THOSE flattering gowns..

I’m used to the flasher gowns having had enough Gynae procedures done in my time. This time, though, I also got a pair of ‘dignity pants’ which have a kinky slit at the back. Now I always struggle with this part so I had the nurse repeat the instructions THREE times so I didn’t make an arse of myself, literally..

Next was the ‘to sedate or not to sedate’ question due to my recent adverse reactions to local anesthesia. A cannula was put in anyway so I could change my mind if needs be, though the consultant did do his best to reassure me that there is no connection between sedative and anesthetic and he’d rarely seen a reaction to one.

As it was my anxiety kicked in BIG TIME, so they took one look at my shaking lunatic self and persuaded me that sedation was the way to go.

So away with the fairies I went.

I’d already made my mind up that I wasn’t going to watch my own insides on the screen, so while the consultant was up to his tricks with his rubber glove I shut my eyes and slurred away to anybody who was listening.

I felt some discomfort when the camera was going round the bends of my colon, but they just whacked more sedative in me and ten minutes later the consultant peered over at me and said, ‘That’s it,  we’re all finished and you’re fine!’.

YAY!

I spent 45 minutes in recovery farting myself DELIRIOUS, while I had some tea and toast, which I was so grateful of as my mouth felt dry as a camels arse after not being able to drink for almost 12 hours..

Then it was back on with the clothes and I was on my way home.

I’ve dreaded this thing for months and had stupidly terrified myself by reading horror stories on the internet, but the thing is that thousands of Colonoscopies are performed every year without a problem,  it’s just that people don’t tend to write about positive experiences.

The prep wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and I downed the lot no problem. The sprinting back and forth to the bog was more inconvenient than anything else and the procedure itself was uncomfortable for a few seconds, but that was it. I’ve had trickier shits that have hurt me more than the colonoscopy did and I’m not scared to have another one done that’s for sure.

The best thing is that I got the ALL CLEAR and that’s a HUGE weight off my mind. There are no nasties lurking in my bowels, aside my Farmer Giles and they are more annoying than nasty.

I urge you NOT to be embarrassed to go to your GP if you have bum problems. If anything is out of the ordinary, just go. Bowel changes, blood, weight loss etc. go tell your GP, because people are literally dying of embarrassment.

Me? Over the past few months I have had more fingers up my bum, (including my own), than Sooty and I’ve even strolled into my GP’s carrying a tube of MY OWN POO! While I was waiting for the sedative to wear off in the recovery room, I let rip some of my best farts EVER and I’m just gutted OH wasn’t there to hear them, he’d have been SO proud!

Go get seen.

Bottoms up!