Triggered

I never really understood what it meant to be triggered. On social media it seems to be a byword for someone who is ‘too sensitive’, and whilst I understand the true meaning of it, I never fully grasped what a crappy thing it is to be triggered until recently. I’m guessing that I’ve been triggered before, but I don’t think I’ve had the self-awareness to recognise it for what it is until now.

At least as far as my own experience goes, being triggered is not just about getting upset over being reminded of something bad in your past. It seems to me that when you are triggered that reminder serves to, emotionally, put you right back in that place you so desperately want to forget.

I really don’t remember much about my childhood, and I prefer to keep it that way, but some things stuck. None of them are good. When I was about 16 my mum got a gall stone stuck in her bile duct, which caused her to go bright yellow. She was admitted to hospital, and since my dad was (is) a complete waste of space, myself and my little brother and sister went to stay with some aunties, on my mum’s side of the family.

That side of the family is extensive. My Nan and granddad popped out kids into the double figures, and cousins, well, we stopped counting when we got past 30. Growing up the message was clear – if anything ever happens we’ll be there for you. What a load of shit.

As a kid we were always visiting my mum’s side of the family. Everyone loved my dad, thought he was a ‘diamond geezer’, but after he dumped his family for some disgusting old trout (after years of emotional abuse I might add) you’d think they’d stand by their sister, right? Nope! Amongst other despicable things, my uncle (my mum’s own brother) let my dad rent his flat, which in itself is pretty low, I think.

So, mum goes into hospital, and I’m already at breaking point at this stage after the messy divorce, plus I’m at a pretty delicate age that’s difficult for any teenager to deal with at the best of times. I’m trying to get to grips with that, plus I’m at college and barely coping with what I now recognise as crippling anxiety. I’m self-harming pretty badly too, but no one knows about that yet.

Thankfully, I go to stay with one aunt and my brother and sister stay with another, but we are only there for one night before they decide they don’t want us.

After being dumped back home where I start to figure out how I’m going to look after two school-age-children, cope with college and try not to worry too much about my mum, the phone rings. It’s my uncle, and he wants to know where my dad is because he hasn’t paid the rent. I said I don’t know (I didn’t, and yes it’s a touchy subject with someone whose family has let them down so monumentally), so he gets angry that I’m not giving him the information he wants. He hangs up the phone but then calls straight back. I don’t answer it, so I’m left a lovely answering machine message informing me I’m a cunt, and that he wouldn’t piss on me if I was on fire. ‘Scuse the foul language, by the way.

That evening an aunt picks us up to take us visiting at the hospital, and I’m told not to tell my mum I’m upset. The one single adult I feel like I have left in the whole world who cares about me, and I’m not allowed to say anything.

Aaaaanyway, mother gets better and I set to work not thinking about this kind of stuff, whilst keeping a hatred of everyone on my mum’s side of the family simmering on a low heat for the rest of eternity.

On Monday, my mum was back in hospital for an operation, and oh boy did I find out what being triggered really meant. On top of being worried about mum, I felt the huge weight of responsibility settle on my shoulders and honestly, I felt like I’d be crushed by it.

Things were very different this time around though. My brother and sister are both adults now, and if I ask them for help, they’ll give it. I’ve got some pretty marvellous friends who are only ever a text or a call away, and I actually have quite an amazing support network at work, of all places.

I know all of this, but for the last two weeks I’ve felt like a frightened and abandoned child who is completely alone in the world. I’ve been wondering whether, if I saw my father, I might try to wring his wrinkly old neck. Because I’m so furious that he wasn’t there when we needed him in the first place. Which is weird, because he’s the very last person I want help from right now. ‘Triggered’ seems like a very small word for such a big feeling.

Whilst waiting for the hospital to ring, a couple of aunties are incessantly trying to get hold of me, wanting updates. Every time the phone makes a sound I’m on it, my heart pounding, anticipating the news of how the operation went. My brother and sister are with me, and they sit up straight and pay attention. The whole room is on high alert. But nope, it’s an annoying aunt. After the initial shot of adrenaline, all I can think is, alternately, ‘where were you when we needed you?’ and ‘I hate you so much, I wish I didn’t have to have anything to do with you’.

Mother is on the mend now, and although we don’t know exactly what the future holds (we are waiting to hear what, if anything, happens next) I’m sure now that I can deal with it. I won’t crumble when my family needs me, and I’m choosing to see it as a good thing that I’ve had to revisit all of these feelings.

By thinking it through, I’ve been able to challenge my own thoughts. I think I’m all alone, but I’m not. I think I can’t cope, but I can. I think everyone will abandon me. They won’t – the family and friends I’ve chosen to keep in my life won’t let me down.

So, this was my brain on Monday. Tuesday was an insanely frustrating day, trying to get my mother out of the hospital, which we eventually achieved a mere 6 hours after she was physically ready to be discharged. About five of those hours were spent waiting for a letter to be printed off for her to take home with her, just outlining what she’d had done. I’m failing to see why that took so long but also, another hour was spent waiting for the pharmacist to deliver some unknown drug for mum to take home with her.

Whilst some poor person was no doubt sitting in recovery for hours waiting for a bed to become available (as my mum had been the day before) a bed was being taken up waiting for a patient to be given Co-codamol, a frikkin drug you can buy in a supermarket for under 30p.

A) why didn’t they give her the prescription so we could collect it from the pharmacy ourselves? Not that we would have bothered, we have a drawer full of over-the-counter painkillers already… and B) why the flip is the NHS giving out prescriptions for stuff like that in the first place? How much must that cost? At least ask if it’s needed first!

Wednesday I was late getting to sleep as we had shopping delivered, then on Thursday I took my brother to an awards ceremony. I can’t go into details (at his request, he keeps things on the down-low) but we spent the afternoon hobnobbing with important police officers and commissioners. It was a weird kind of afternoon, but we both did surprisingly well in a social situation we both found excruciatingly uncomfortable.

Friday and Saturday I slept most of the day (keep in mind I’ve been working nights as usual) and now finally, finally I’ve had enough rest in order to be able to think straight.

I haven’t felt Christmassy at all so far, and what with everything that’s been going I haven’t felt like wearing my Christmas hats or anything like that. However, I am off work now for four whole nights!

So, expect normal service to resume shortly, with hopefully three weeks’ worth of festivities somehow crammed into a few days. Challenge accepted!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Too Much Whelm

I’m overwhelmed. My brain is currently a swarm of angry bees. When I think about moving forward and making progress with my goals, it goes something like this: Ok, so I need to get this weight off. Which means I need to be PERFECT every day without a single slip-up. I need to be out walking, no running, and preferably doing kettlebell workouts too, and I need to keep on top of the washing, and no early finishes from work, and spend more time with Pea, and Newton, and mum, brother, sister, friends, have a better social life, draw more, make more, be more creative, blog more and if we don’t do all of that we’ve failed and what’s the point in even trying it’ll all go wrong you’ll fail you’ll give up like you always do useless, useless, useless…

Yeah, that.

So instead of being sensible, doing what I can and inching towards the person I want to be, it all gets too much and I shut down. I just want to be in bed all of the time and not move or think.

What I’m doing right now is not in line with the person I was/want to be, and I don’t know how to get that back. I have a couple of weeks where I feel back on top of things, then I do too much and end up right back where I started. I’m not sure what the answer is right now. I wish I could just not think for a moment, but ridiculous overthinker that I am, I’ve been having trouble with that.

I’m going to try meditating. I wanted to find a class, but I can’t find one that I can get to/doesn’t clash with other commitments, so I’m going to start off with an app that was recommended to me by a friend and go from there. In the back of my head I’m thinking ‘SO POINTLESS! You’ll stick with it for a week then give up!’ which may be true, but I’ve gotta try, right? Maybe if I can quiet my brain and live more in the moment, it’ll really help.

Ok, so I just went and tried that app and it was actually really good! I’ve set a reminder to do it every day and see how I go, but I certainly feel less overwhelmed right now. Huh, who knew?

So, I skipped weigh in yesterday because I couldn’t face being in a room of people, but I did weigh in at home. Since I last went to group I put on 13.5 pounds. Yep, nearly a stone. On the plus side, I think about half of that weight was dough in various forms (pizza, bread, donut etc) as today I weigh 7 pounds less. I still weigh more than when I rejoined Slimming World but still, it’s better than it was yesterday!

Although I haven’t been feeling great, I did manage to do some things this weekend. I watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind with my brother (a 1984 Studio Ghibli film) which was excellent, then I went to see the new Zombieland with a friend. It was nicely entertaining, and the first time I’ve been to the cinema with this particular friend in ages where we didn’t end up seeing something we both despised. Next Sunday I’m seeing Joker with my brother, on the IMAX screen which should be pretty awesome.

Yesterday I woke up feeling like complete poop. I couldn’t get to sleep till 5am and when my alarm went off to get up to feed Pea, I wasn’t feeling very happy about being awake. Since I was up, I just grabbed what I needed and got out of the house. Although I’m not a huge fan of cold weather, the fact that it’s cold enough to wear a hat so I don’t need to do my hair, is very helpful indeed. If I need to spend too much time getting ready, it’s just too much effort to go out.

My plan today is to prep some clothes into piles so when I get up tomorrow, everything is laid out and I can get out for a walk quickly before I change my mind.

Yesterday I was out for over two hours, because I saw more mushrooms and fungi than I’ve ever seen in my life. The woods were absolutely smothered in them. I took over 400 pictures, but these are my favourites:

I also found one of the teeniest mushrooms ever. I forgot about it until just now as when I was editing my photos it was so small I never even noticed which shot it was in.

Crazy tiny! Much too small for my camera to even focus on! It’s at this point I regret selling my macro lens, until I remember how heavy it was and how I really wouldn’t have wanted to lug it around the woods…

Aaaaanyway, I’m feeling kind of better now. Hopefully I can keep my s**t together and stop going backwards every time I start getting somewhere! Here’s hoping.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley X

Indoorsy

This time last year I was spending a lot of time outdoors. I had ‘enough’ energy to be getting with and I was going for long walks nearly every day and loving it. What with one thing or another, despite photographic evidence apparently to the contrary, I’ve hardly been out at all. At least not compared to how often I used to be.

It’s better if I’ve got someone with me, because I’ve been feeling anxious – as I’m not happy with my appearance right now I’ve been putting off going for walks alone. I’ve been intending to walk to town every day for the last two weeks (something I used to do at least once a week, whether I needed to shop or not) but every day I found an excuse not to go.

Today I didn’t run out of excuses (I’ve still got plenty of those) but the desire to find cute slippers simply became too strong. Well, whatever works eh? The desire to change my current state of affairs was probably the main reason, but cute stuff always helps!

I was in town for ages before I found these. Cute slippers are thin on the ground this year for some reason. I almost went for giraffe ones, but I figured Newton would probably think they were a toy so I decided against them.

It was so refreshing to get out, especially as there was a really light rain that felt bloody lovely on my face. It wasn’t that cold, but cool enough that I could wear a hat and save time not having to style my hair before leaving the house.

Speaking of cold, the cold weather clothing has arrived at work and was dished out to us last night. Everything I’ve ordered is uncomfortably tight so I know I won’t be wearing it just yet, and I have no idea if I’ll still manage to get last year’s salopettes on. I’m retrieving them from my locker tonight for a test run. I think this is scary enough to get me back on plan, because if they don’t fit I need to shrink back into them and do it quick, because life at work without them is painfully cold.

I think I’m going to be ok, because comfort eating just isn’t working for me any more. I simply don’t get the same sort of high from a binge as I used to, so what’s the point? This is a very good thing, but I need to get back into my walking as a way to calm myself because it’s no good if I don’t have an alternative. After I realised the food wasn’t helping over the weekend, I was mainly driven to eat more rubbish because I didn’t have the mental energy to prepare any food. It really sucks when you feel that crappy, and I usually have stuff in the freezer for such occasions, but I’m currently low on supplies. I must get organised again. I also realised that I don’t really like drinking alcohol any more. If I have any more than one glass with a meal, I feel awful afterwards. Again, it ain’t worth it.

So it isn’t all bad! Work hasn’t been a nice place to be just lately, but over the last week I’ve reconnected with someone I hadn’t spoken with for over a year (01/08/18 was the last time to be precise) and it’s actually been lovely. I can’t go into details of course, but it was all connected to my last relationship. Although I didn’t set out to hurt anyone, I made some really poor judgement calls and this colleague got caught in the crossfire. It’s been really awesome catching up with him and repairing something I thought was broken forever. Yay for good things!

Now what I need to do is learn how to deal with it when people have a problem with me, specifically when I haven’t done anything wrong. You can’t make people see you for who and what you really are, and if someone is determined to see you as a bad person then there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. I’m currently in this situation at work and all I can do is suck it up. Logically, I know that it doesn’t matter what this person thinks of me. Everyone who is important to me or whose opinion I value knows the truth, so why should I care? Why can’t I get the fact out of my head and stop playing things over and over in my mind? No idea, but it’s something I’ll be asking the counsellor about for sure! In the meantime I plan to avoid confrontation, which is not a long-term solution but until I can deal with it I need to protect myself. I just don’t think I can take any more feeling bad right now, I desperately need some peace.

Lately all I feel is sick and anxious, all the time. It’s getting boring now.

One continuous little ray of sunshine is Newton of course, so I’ll leave you with his sweet little face enjoying the one time this week that yellow orb in the sky made an appearance.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x