The Fog

People often refer to depression as being like a black dog. For me it always something I compare more to being trapped in fog.The fog descends gradually and without warning. It is all consuming, this need to get out of the fog. I feel lost, helpless and utterly alone. 

I can hear voices in the fog, but they are distant and they often don’t make sense. I cannot see clearly because the fog clouds my vision, so I don’t take the words of loved ones at face value. I think they might have some other weird agenda and that makes me anxious about trusting them.

Being in the fog means that things that I would normal deal with rationally, I can’t because my senses are dulled.

So when my ex husband texts me out of the blue with strange demands, I don’t spot what I would normally spot. That this is him drunk, trying to goad me into a response so that he can offload his anger and upset on me. The fog gets in the way, so I don’t ignore it the way I should. The resulting stress and upset that occurs is hard to deal with, harder than normal, because of course half my mind is constantly trying to find a pathway out of the fog.

I try herbal sleeping pills to relax me, I throw myself into my work, because the fog is thinner there. I’ve bought a vitamin D mouth spray, my boyfriend has bought me a SAD lamp, I try to get outdoors each day.

The last one is particularly hard. I love being outdoors, but the effort involved in moving around and doing things while surrounded by fog is horrific. Plus, there are people out there. People I would normally be happy and confident to interact with, but the fog brings paranoia, because as I said earlier, I can’t see properly, I don;t trust my judgement.

Food doesn’t taste as good. I lose my appetite. I force myself to eat three meals a day because logically I know I have to, but it sticks in my throat and I can’t even bring myself to eat chocolate. I burst into tears randomly, because every day is just so fucking hard. 

My children don’t see me upset, but I’m well aware that my patience is stretched. It’s a Herculean effort to try to remain outwardly normal while inside my mind is in free-fall, encased in thick, grey fog.

 I know, rationally, that the fog will lift again, but the worry is when? How long do I drag myself through each day, mask in place so that people don’t see how much I’m struggling? 

Yurts, Friendship and Exercise

<p>I spent a Saturday night in July, in a yurt in North Wales with friends and our various offspring. It was brilliant fun.</p><p>I drove there and took a friend and her son with me as she won’t drive on motorways, or that far. Our other two friends drove up together too. We arrived first and we got a picnic lunch out for us and the children and set to work blowing up balloons and hanging bunting to decorate the yurt as it was one of the other women’s birthdays.</p><p>The others arrived a bit later and by that time we were settled on chairs and rugs in a lovely field, near a stream and some woodland. The children were able to run about to their hearts content as it was such a safe area. Also, we were the only ones staying in the yurt camp that weekend, so we pretty much had the place to ourselves!</p><p>The place we stayed at was Tyn Dwr, which is owned by the University of Central Lancashire. The place is usually used by the students but during holidays they rent it out. We had booked our nights stay via the Big Daily Deal company, so we paid half the price. Usually it is £280 to hire the yurt for the night, it sleeps 8 people and this price includes a continenetal breakfast. You have access to a shower and toilet block and also a room near the kitchen where you can sit and eat your own food.</p><p>So was it worth the money? I’m going to say ‘No’.</p><p>We had a great time, but if the weather had been bad all day, it would have been appalling. Although the facilites were clean they were basic. There is a kitchen, but it only comprises a sink, kettle and microwave. We hired a barbeque for saturday evening, but that cost £25 which seems a bit steep!</p><p>The yurt itself was not what I was expecting. It wasn’t a traditional yurt, nor had any attempt been made to make it look like one. It was basically a wooden trellis structure covered in tarpaulin type material, with a clear plastic circle in the centre to allow some light in. There was a solar powered light, but as our yurt was under the trees it had no charge and if one of us hadn’t brought a small camping lamp, we would have been sitting in darkness all evening! The layout inside was 4 bunk beds around the outside edges and a small table with fold out chairs underneath. There was also a log burner, but we didn’t use it. It was in the “yurt camp” which was rather closely packed. I’m glad we were the only ones in residence, as the noise would have travelled badly from one yurt to another.</p><p>For us, the problem with the accommodation occurred in the evening once the children were ready for bed. By this time it was raining heavily. Initially we put the five children to bed and sat under the trees outside to allow them to settle. Soon though, the rain was so heavy as to make this impossible, so we had to move into the yurt. This is where it was a pain. We had to try to stay quiet so the children would go to sleep. There was no division between where we were sitting and where they were sleeping. A simple awning outside would have solved this.</p><p>While I appreciate that this is used predominantly for students, if they are going to rent it out to the general public, for the prices they are charging… I expect a little more.</p><p>Our booking included various activities for the children, such as den building, orienteering and a night goggles rope walk. I was a bit disappointed that these were not led by anyone. We were just shown where the things were and left to get on with it. I think that this disappointment is more to do with managing expectations. I assumed that this would be a led activity and I was looking forward to gleaning ideas on den building to use in future, as my children are big fans! As it was, we managed, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for.</p><p>We had a brilliant time, and we all agreed that we would happily do a similar holiday again.. but probably not there. Which is a pity, the breakfast was lovely and the staff were all extremely pleasant and helpful, and the area is lovely. The grounds are great for children to play safely in while feeling that they are away from parental eyes, while you can actually still see them in fact ;)</p><p>All in all a brilliant time away. The weather was thankfully pretty kind! The worst of the rain held off until overnight, and then our homeward journey on Sunday afternoon. Driving along the M53 at 30mph in torrential rain during a thunderstorm is not much fun!</p><p>Following what had been an extremely busy few days out, I decided that Monday would be a chillout day at home for me and the kids. So much so, that my daughter only got out of her PJs at 5pm! We played with beads and lego, played games on the Wii, watched a bit of tv and just generally slouched about doing whatever they fancied. They did not want to go out and so we stayed home.</p><p>I had intended to have a quiet and relaxing day, however… The temptation of re-jigging my kitchen cupboards was a bit too much for me. Of course, it never ends there! Soon I was stuck into a massive clear out, binbags of junk were being hurled out of the back door and things put into a box to pass to the ex. Then of course, furniture was moved, dusters and hoovers were deployed and within a few hours the whole of the downstairs was in a state of upheaval!</p><p>Thankfully, a few hours further on and it was looking a bit more normal again.</p><p>The children’s dad arrived to collect them at 6pm, and then I finished up what I was doing, ate a quick, boring dinner (tinned Irish Stew anyone? No thought not) and then headed out to an aqua aerobics class I had booked earlier. Or so I thought…</p><p>I got changed and wandered out to the poolside, where a different lady was standing there handing out weird floats that tie around your waist. I asked her if we needed them for aqua aerobics.. She replied “Oh this isn’t aqua aerobics, it’s aqua jogging!”</p><p>Ah.. I’ve never done that before. She passed me a float. “Put this on, just under your bust. It should sit high on your ribs and be tight. Like a corset.”</p><p>I tightened it. “No! Tighter than that!” She smiled as I yanked it in tighter. “It should be hard to breathe”</p><p>It was.</p><p>Into the pool and she had us jogging around using our cupped hands to drag ourselves through the water. It was bloody hard work. But she was excellent and encouraging with the result that I really felt like I’d had a tough workout at the end of the session. It has to be said though, doing star jumps in the deep end of the pool with a little float around your waist is extremely difficult! My arms are like jelly today and my legs hurt.</p><p>Naturally I’m going to aqua aerobics tonight!</p>

Reading, Watching & Socialising

<p>I love to read. Always have done.</p><p>I usually have a few books on the go at the time as I tend to flit depending on my mood (or where I am)</p><p>On my Kindle, I’m currently reading the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich – William Shirer, which is a fascinating read so far. The Nazification of Germany could potentially have been stopped at so many points, and I’m only just at the stage where Hitler has declared himself Fuehrer.
Human nature stopped that from happening.The way that people tend to think the best of people, to ascribe positive traits to others, was the very thing that allowed Hitler to seize power. He repeatedly lied, but people trusted him. He repeatedly pushed his agenda, leaving the disarmament programme because other countries weren’t disarming as quickly as he wanted them to, while all the time he was secretly re-arming Germany.</p><p>I’m enjoying learning more about a part of history that I did not study at school. Plus I think it is vital that people are aware of the past, as there are such valuable lessons to be learnt.</p><p>The other thing I have been doing this weekend, is watching a crime drama on Iplayer called Luther. Now I’m not generally much of a fan of crime novels, or series. I tend to think there is quite enough evil in the world without creating more!</p><p>However, I have been enjoying Luther, even though I was a bit uncomfortable at watching it in the house alone when I realised the content!</p><p>Other than that, I’ve had a busy few days socially. Exercise class went really well last week and it was lovely to be back doing something I enjoy. Sadly I can’t go this week, but I’m determined to get back to it again the following week. Then I had a friend’s hen night out on Friday which was great fun. We went to a local restaurant which does tapas style food. We were advised to order three to four dishes each and I’m glad I opted for three as it was plenty! The food was amazing and I can’t wait to go back.  It was lovely to see old friends that I haven’t seen much of recently due to busy lives syndrome. And also great to just chat to strangers. I met some really interesting people, and saw some amazing shoes on one of the other ladies on the night out ;)</p><p> This was followed by a family get together at my house the next day, which was lovely and relaxing. I’d planned the food to ensure that it required minimal cooking. I hate the cooking part most of all and get into a right mood having to do it. So a giant salad, couscous dish and pre-cooked meat was the way to go! It’s the type of food that I always eat myself too. I often end up being pressganged into doing a huge roast dinner when my family come and it’s stressful purely because I don’t ever do roast dinners.  My mum and sister can witter on as much as they like about how easy it is.. but I don’t eat roast dinners at home. I don’t even particularly LIKE roast dinners! So cooking them is alien and a total pain in the arse for me. So I opted out of all that crap this time and it was much better, I was much more relaxed and therefore, I actually enjoyed hosting. For once.</p><p>I’ll be remembering that for next time.</p><p>I’m starting the week in an optimistic frame of mind despite a few minor niggles in my private life.</p><p>Anyway, back to my reading..</p>

Cadbury World & Warwick Castle

I spent this last weekend away with my children and parents. We set off on Saturday morning for Birmingham where we were meeting my sister and her family. After a high speed picnic in the park and a quick run around for the three kids, we went into Cadbury World. My sister uses Tesco a lot for her food shopping, and as a result she had a huge amount of Tesco Clubcard vouchers to use. So she had pre-booked all our tickets. We went straight in and I was in heaven smelling all that chocolate!

The tour took about two hours and kept the children entertained for the duration. I would LOVE to go back without the kids at some point though, just so I can actually read more about the process.

After the tour we went on to the hotel in Solihull where we had booked in for the night. My two children were extremely excited at staying in a hotel, particularly my son! I’m not sure what he was expecting, but he said it was even better than he’d expected. And bearing in mind he had been ecstatic at the prospect, that is pretty good!

We went for a swim and then got changed ready for our evening meal My sister had booked us a table at Bella Italia, which was just across the road from the hotel. It was a great meal and the three kids were brilliantly behaved, which really takes the strain out of eating out with them. My son was really starting to flag with tiredness by the time the desserts arrived. He was asleep within seconds of climbing into his bed, utterly exhausted!

Next day we were down for breakfast bright and early. My daughter adored the whole hotel breakfast experience. She took about six trips to the buffet area, coming back with a different course each time. Both kids said they wanted to live in a hotel when they grew up.. Hope they both get exceptionally well paid careers in that case!

After that we checked out and headed to Warwick Castle. Another batch of Clubcard vouchers had been deployed and so we wandered in, bypassing all the queues. We checked out the planned events of the day and decided on our schedule. There was a Mike the Knight event on that day so the children soon had us hunting all around the place finding dragon’s eggs with clues. We watched displays on Bird’s of Prey, Warriors and archery and then finally the Flaming Trebuchet.

Each display was fun and interesting. Pitched just perfectly for kids and yet informative enough for adults too. As each display lasted around 15-20 minutes it was perfect for a child’s short attention span. We left Warwick Castle around 5.30 and headed into the city centre to find parking and a cheap pub meal. We found parking on a side street thanks to google maps on my phone. It was bit of a panic navigating to Wetherspoons from there though as my phone battery was almost out! We made it though and had a cheap but cheerful dinner before hustling the children back into the cars (after the obligatory Joyride travel sickness pills for my two) and we set off for home.

Both children were wiped out, but we all had a fantastic time. They had a nice early night last night to try to recover a bit of sleep after their two late nights and full on days.

Me? I was in bed almost as soon as they were asleep on the Sunday night!

I am the Tooth Fairy!

My sister’s son has been questioning the existence of the tooth fairy.
“Mummy, I don’t think there really is a tooth fairy. I think you sneak in at night when I’m asleep and take my teeth and leave money.”
My sister’s genius response?
“Why on earth would I want your teeth? What am I supposed to be doing with your old teeth? Making a necklace?!” *loud laughter*
Nephew – “Hmmmm. I suppose not.. There MUST be a tooth fairy then..”

This conversation then brought us to the fact that I have one of my daughter’s baby teeth in my purse. I keep forgetting its there. I realised two weeks ago.
It was during my daughter’s birthday party at soft play hell, one of her friends came in having been dropped off by another child’s mum. “Elaine, can you look after this until my mum comes please?” she said as she deposited a bloody tooth on the palm of my hand. I checked her over & she was fine. She’d just wiggled it a bit over-enthusiastically in the car.
“Of course” I said “I’ll put it in my purse”
“Keep it safe for me for the tooth fairy!” She said.
So I went to pop it into my purse, only to see daughter’s old tooth nestled there.
Clearly I should be the tooth fairy, as I’m already garnering quite the collection.