Therapy is coming to an end

My last CBT session is on Friday so I thought now would be a good time to reflect on how it has helped me and the progress I’ve made.

My therapist has been amazing. After 38 sessions with him I feel he knows me, probably better than I know myself. He’s helped me so much and I’ll always be grateful to him for showing me that I didn’t have to live in pain.

My therapy journey has been long, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions and it has hurt at times.

The one that hurt the most was writing the letter to my dad. My dad that I spent my entire life looking to for attention. The dad I begged to be a part of my life. The dad who abandoned me and left me needing security and safety.

My dad who should have been there for me but instead turned his back on me. I wrote 8 A4 pages to him. And reading it back made me cry even more. But now I read it and I don’t cry for what I never had, for what I needed. I feel proud that despite it all I have proven strong enough to withstand.

I feel proud of my parenting abilities, and how I’ve raised my children despite not having the best example from him. I was incredibly lucky to have my mum, to show me how to parent properly, to guide me and support me, to help me out whenever I needed it.

My dad can’t hurt me anymore. I have nothing left inside of me for him. I don’t feel anger or sadness that he’s missed out on my life or my children’s lives. I don’t feel hatred, I don’t blame myself for not being good enough for him. I feel. Nothing. And that’s what I needed.

I needed to learn that I will never be enough for him because I’m not him and the only person he cares about is himself. I needed to learn that it’s not my fault that I don’t measure up to his standards, and that it’s ok to not need him.

It took time but I’m there. I don’t feel any negativity toward him. I appreciate that he’s my dad and without him I wouldn’t be in the world. But I also know that without him I have and I will manage just fine.

Another revelation that therapy taught me is that I can’t blame myself for the trauma that I went through as a teenager and that people are only responsible for their own actions, not the actions of others.

I feel much more in control and able to face the world. I feel much more stable in my emotions and I feel I can express them, good and bad, in a healthy manner.

So thank you Robin. You have been amazing. Everyone needs a Robin in their lives. Truly. He’s made me a better person because he’s taught me how to manage my feelings.

Letters to my father

Tonight I have to do one of the most difficult things I’ve ever been asked to do.

I have to write a letter. To my dad. To tell him exactly how he’s made me feel throughout my life. How when he abandoned me it hurt and it still hurts.

I have to get all of my feelings down on paper. Really open myself up and face the reality of my relationship with my dad.

I’ve been asked to do this by my therapist because, surprise, ya girl got daddy issues. He’s got a lot to answer for.

He’s made me feel worthless. Made me feel unwanted. Made me feel like my kids are nothing to him, especially my boys.

His actions are shouting the truth. He doesn’t want to be around us. He’d rather spend all of his spare time with his partner. His partner who threatened to physically attack me and threatened to send her niece to physically attack me.

If that doesn’t give you a glimpse of how my dad is nothing will. He very much puts himself and his feelings above his children and grandchildren.

So tonight I write. He’ll never read it. But tonight I get everything off my chest. Tonight I finally let go. I finally accept that me and my dad will never have the relationship I crave.

Abortion

Given the goings on in America and the overturning of Roe V Wade, I thought I’d talk about my personal experience of abortion

It’s safe to say that my stance on the matter is that abortion is healthcare and you cannot ban abortion, only safe abortion.

I feel terrible for all of the women in the US who are going to be forced to give birth to an unwanted child because of this. As if the world needs more unwanted children. There are enough of those already.

I’m incredibly lucky that I live in England, where abortion is safe and legal up to 24 weeks and after that for medical reasons.

I’m lucky because I needed to access that care.

In August 2018 I found out I had EDS. After discussing pregnancy with those involved in my care they told me that should I go ahead with a pregnancy, I’d be in a wheelchair, probably for the rest of my life.

That month I also found out I was pregnant.

My partner at the time and I had discussed it. He was a stay at home dad and he was struggling with his mental health, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to cope with a baby as well as our three living children. I thank him for being honest. That was the bravest thing he did throughout our relationship. He was honest when I needed him to be.

When I booked in to the clinic at the beginning of September I was told I was having twins and asked if that changed my mind. It didn’t. It made it even more important for me to terminate the pregnancy, as it would affect my body more and would have affected my exes mental health more. No way would we have managed as he’d have had to look after 5 children and become my carer.

I was 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant when I took the pill. It was one oral pill and one inserted vaginally.

I had my mum with me to hold my hand, just as I had her with me to hold my hand ten years before when I’d given birth to my oldest child.

After taking and inserting the pills I was free to go home. So home I went and waited for them to work. It was a long, fraught day, full of emotion, tears and pain. A lot of pain.

It took until 10pm that night for the twins to come away. It broke me to have to do that but I knew it was the right choice. The only choice really as my living children needed me to be as healthy as possible.

The next day I was meant to be back in work but I was still very emotional and upset and bleeding heavily so I called in sick.

I returned to work the day after that and had to pretend I was OK. I wasn’t OK, what I hadn’t told anyone at this point was that I was hearing voices and those voices were calling me a murderer, telling me I was worthless and that I should kill myself. Those voices played on every single insecurity I had and made all of the emotion from the termination worse.

I spent months trying to manage alone. Trying to pretend that the voices weren’t there and that I was happy about the abortion. But I’ll never be happy about the abortion. I wish circumstances were different. What I am though is relieved.

Relieved I’m not now a single, disabled, mentally ill mother to 5. Relieved that I’m as healthy as I can be for my existing children. Relieved that the option was there for me to take.

For me, abortion was traumatic and difficult. For others it may not be and that’s perfectly OK

What’s not OK is to strip away the rights of women for the sake of a potential life. Women are here now and deserve basic human rights and decency, not to be forced into giving birth, which is dangerous for all women.

Pregnancy and birth carry risks and the US has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. All that the ban on abortion will do will increase the number of women dying, either by being forced into childbirth, or trying to get a back street abortion and it going horribly wrong. It will result in dead women and unwanted children in the care system, overwhelming already overstretched and underfunded services.

So I stand with the women of America. I stand with the women of Poland who have already had their right stripped away too.

I stand with women the world over and will sign petitions as needed to get the world to listen and I will aid and abet in abortions should anyone want to come to England and receive healthcare here. I will support them through it and hold their hand and I will help them access after care and counselling should they need it.

In a nutshell. Abortion is healthcare. I stand with women. I will support women’s right to bodily autonomy. I am pro choice. As early as possible, as late as necessary.

EDS awareness month

As may is EDS awareness month I thought I’d share with you some information on one of my many different disabilities.

EDS, ehlers-danlos-syndrome. There are 13 recognised types of EDS.

The type I have is hypermobile or type 3.

It affects my mobility, my sleep, my pain levels and various other parts of my life.

People with hEDS may have:

joint hypermobility
loose, unstable joints that dislocate easily
joint pain and clicking joints
extreme tiredness (fatigue)
skin that bruises easily
digestive problems, such as heartburn and constipation
dizziness and an increased heart rate after standing up
problems with internal organs, such as mitral valve prolapse or organ prolapse
problems with bladder control (stress incontinence)

Currently, there are no tests to confirm whether someone has hEDS.

The diagnosis is made based on a person’s medical history and a physical examination.

I have most of those symptoms and suffer badly with dislocations and subluxation. Usually I manage these myself but sometimes I have to go to the hospital to have things put back in place.

Living with EDS means my life is a constant flurry of pain, medication and doctors appointments. I need a lot of support to live my life as independently as possible.

I have various adaptations to my house and I walk with aids or use a wheelchair or mobility scooter. This enables me to do the school runs which is often the only time I’m able to get out of the house.

Sometimes though I can’t even manage that, and have to get someone else to do it. Luckily my mum or the children’s dad will step up and do it for me.

I’m incredibly lucky that I have support in place. Many people aren’t as lucky as me.

The kiddos residential.

Today my oldest child went away with school on a residential trip. He’ll be away for 5 days.

During this time he’ll get to do all sorts of things he could never do here.

Canoeing, kayaking, raft building, hiking, jetty jumping, rock climbing, abseiling and loads more.

It will be so good for him to get away for the week. To spend some time being a regular 13 year old child. Because let’s face it. He’s not.

He has to care for me a lot. He helps with housework, cooks basic meals when I can’t, will put my socks on for me, he does a lot of things that other 13 year olds don’t have to do.

Hes also a fantastic big brother, amusing the littler two for me so that I can have a break, playing games with them, teaching them new things. He’s such a good role model to them.

So this break will do him good. But for me it means I’m suddenly bombarded with voices.

I’m being told that he will despise me, that he will resent helping me, that he’ll have a taste of freedom and never want to come home.

I know this isn’t true. He’s my Alex. He’s my boy. We are incredibly close. We have an amazing bond and he loves me.

But that doesn’t stop the voices from trying to make me feel like shit. They’ll do everything in their power to bring me down.

So this week, while my son has fun, I’ll be battling extra hard against my demons. I’ll be fighting to keep my head above water. All so that when he comes home his mum is waiting for him.

Waiting to hear about all the amazing things he got to do. All of his new experiences. And waiting just to give him a hug. This will be a difficult week for me. But he needs this.

So I’ll figure it out. I’ll keep plodding on, and my boy will come home and wonder why he ever worried about me because I’ll be just fine.

An emotional day

Yesterday for me was an emotional day.

Since starting CBT with my fantastic therapist, I’ve been given homework to do. Some of that is to write down my feelings and let myself feel them.

Well yesterday I felt all of the feelings. I spent pretty much the entire day in tears.

I cried because my mums cat died… 3 years ago.

I cried because my cat is unwell again and may end up losing his eyesight. I cried because there was a cat that had been run over on the road. I cried because everyone I know and love has been affected by the rona in one way or another.

I cried because life has been particularly cruel to me. I didn’t ask for any of the shit life has thrown at me, but I’ve been forced to deal with it all.

My old method of dealing with it was to shut down. To not feel anything. To pretend everything was OK and then I didn’t have to face the reality if how awful it was.

But therapy has taught me that feeling those feelings and letting them out is healthy. That it’s OK to cry. Its OK to feel sad and angry. It’s OK to feel.

So if anyone reading this needs to hear it, it’s OK. Cry, let it out and you’ll feel better for it. I promise.

Therapy time

After 3 years and 4 months of hearing voices I’m finally receiving therapy.

I had my first appointment on the 10th of December. It was just a session to explain what we’d do each week and discuss what I wanted out of it.

Once he found out I was autistic he immediately asked if there were any adjustments he could make to make it easier on me so we discussed what I need and he’s agreed to keep my sessions at the same time and day each week.

I felt very relaxed around him and feel I’ll be able to open up to him about some of the more difficult experiences I’ve endured in my life.

He gave me some homework to do and told me to write down things to help me remember them so I have a nice new notebook to use. (I’m a stationary obsessive!)

I am actually eager to get started and hopefully find better ways to cope with the fact I hear voices. I don’t think they’ll ever go away, but if I can cope with them better I may be able to get on with my life.

So keep your fingers crossed for me that it all goes well, and hope that I finally after all this time, find some sort of relief or coping mechanism.

Being stalked online

For some reason people who dislike me think stalking my every move online will somehow prove I’m a terrible person.

Such as finding old blog posts of mine, written when fresh out of a relationship, and hurting and showing them to my ex, Michael.

The problem with that is that Michael won’t turn around and be angry at me for it because me and Michael actually get on now.

We are friends now. As weird as that may seem to some people, we get on much better than when we were together.

Our friendship now is based on mutual respect for each other as the parent of our children. We’ll never fall out over people interfering in that.

Because people can’t interfere in that. We both just want what is best for our kids. We both want to raise them to be kind, decent, and good human beings and members of society.

So people can stalk me online all they like. They can search my blog posts and make them out to be something they’re not. They can tell my ex about how awful I am.

But no one, and I mean no one, will ever come in the way of us being the best parents we can be to our children and that means being friends with each other. No one can take that away from us.

Pain clinic recommendations

A few days ago I had an appointment with the pain specialists in my area.

The initial appointment was just to find out what I struggle with and who I should be referred to.

Well of course, I have a list of diagnoses as long as my arm! So it was decided I shall see the head if the service as I’m such a complex case and I need someone with experience of my disabilities.

So now I wait, for my appointment, which may be months away, and hope I can manage my pain until then.

Yet Another Diagnosis

At the beginning of September I had my regular appointment with the rheumatologist.

This time I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

This has triggered another change in my medication. So now I’m dealing with the effects if changing, including a much reduced appetite. Not exactly a bad thing!

It seems though that my list of things wrong with me grows every time I see someone about the pain I’m in. I have an appointment with the pain clinic in a couple of weeks which will possibly mean another change in medication.

I’m just at a bit of a loss really at the moment as I try and get my head around the fibro diagnosis and how that fits with all of my other disabilities.