Thursday, 21 June 2018

Just the facts, ma'am

I started a post yesterday and saved it as a draft. Reading it back today it was a world a way from how I'm feeling now so I scrapped it. I find it fascinating that my mood can shift so drastically from one day to the next... Fascinating and a little bit shit, obviously. 

Over the past week or so, I've found myself waking each day unsure of which version of Kati I'll be spending the day with. As I'm not overly keen on most of the potential variations this is not an ideal way to start the day. The fact that three to four mornings a week I also wake up on an airbed certainly doesn't help matters but we'll come to that shortly. 

So my mood has been all over the shop and I was starting to wonder if perhaps my medication needed adjusting. I don't necessarily want to be on a higher dose but after reading a brilliant article on the Blurt Foundation website this week about the stigma surrounding medication and mental health, I decided to just go with it. Appointment is booked for after work tomorrow to see my GP. Today however, I feel better. Massive overshare: my period arrived today. Yay! I mean, not yay because I feel like I've been hit by a bus and I'm roughly the size of a small shed but at least my mood has levelled out and I've got an explanation of sorts for my escalated sugar consumption just lately. 

As my head is the clearest it's been all week, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to bosh out a blog post and get a bit of perspective. The more I add to this little blog o' mine, the more it helps me to understand my own head and thought processes. 

Over the last few days I've described my life as an "utter shit show" in conversation with others. I did it earlier today when talking with my (now ex) accountant. On the one hand, I like the way it sounds and it packs a certain comedic punch but on the other hand, I actually feel like it's a fairly accurate description. 

Let's look at the facts, shall we...? 

I am 36 years old. Single. A mother of two. I am currently living in a friend's spare room. My whole world in one place. Of course I still have a heap of stuff at my ex-partner's house and thankfully he's okay with it staying there for now. When the children stay over with me (three nights a week), they get my bed and I sleep on a single air bed on the floor. When my mood is low (as it has been several times this week), I find myself lying there wondering how the actual F this is my life?! I mean, for reals. I have a degree. I'm reasonably intelligent (but admittedly somewhat lacking in basic common sense). I ran my own business for almost four years. I had a mortgage (albeit briefly) twelve years ago!! And now... Air bed on the floor. 

I must at this point state that I am insanely grateful to my lovely friend for letting me and my small humans invade her home, life and space for a few months. It's a temporary measure and I long for my own home but I will miss living here when I'm gone. Living with your ex is not ideal and she offered me a little bit of space to call my own. I won't ever forget that. 

Back to the facts though... I'm in horrendous debt and my credit score is dog shit. If I'm lucky, I might be debt-free (ish) by the time I'm 40. I haven't left the UK since 2006 and my passport expired in 2009. I won't even bother delving in to the great big bag of unrelenting crazy that is my mental health or the pain I still feel at the loss of my dad.

Shit show, right? Fact. Here's the thing... I'm okay with it. I mean, I'm not really obviously because no sane person would be but here and now, I'm kinda at peace with it all. I won't say "I don't care!" because that would be utter bullshit but I can see things to be grateful for. Sometimes I can't. Sometimes the pit is so friggin deep, I can't see light at all. Right now... I see stars. 

Here are some more facts... I am healthy. Not so much, mentally but physically I'm in reasonable nick, rampant sugar addiction aside of course. I can run and yesterday I did five miles. My children are healthy and clever and funny. I have not one but two jobs I enjoy. Nothing will compare with the honour and the joy of running my SW groups and helping people transform their lives but sometimes it's okay to have a clock in/ clock out job you can walk away from at the end of your shift. I have a roof over my head. It's not my roof but it's a very nice roof over a very nice house that I'm lucky to live in for a spell. Is it a squash and a squeeze trying to fit everything I need in to one room? Of course it is and I'm not the tidiest individual but when I look round my room I see pictures of my daddy (not to mention one of me, Eva and Tom Fletcher!) and cards my awesome friends have sent me. I have amazing friends: Fact! The Holy Trinity of Chrissy, Jenny and Tracey. My birthday twin, Sam. Beth. Caroline. Jo. Katy. Rachael. Amy. My Bosworths. EB. Lynney. Katie. Me Little Gem. And that's just off the top of my head. 

The single thing. That's a sore point, I'm not gonna lie. I know I shouldn't be hung up on it. I know I need to learn to "love myself" first (vom!) before I can let anyone else love me but honestly...? I just miss kisses. I miss coming home to someone. I miss that solid feeling of a proper hug from a bloke that loves me. Even with a reasonably chipper outlook tonight I still struggle to believe that anyone is ever going to look at me and see anything worth loving. I'm chaotic and noisy and insecure... oh yeah, and officially NUTS. Whatsapping with a male friend (who must remain nameless) I listed all the things I want in a partner... He needs to be funny and patient and kind. He must look past all of my ludicrousness and see magic! He must be willing to kiss away my tears, hold me tight and protect me when everything gets too much for me. I poured it all out. Painted a picture of all the things my man must be. The reply? "Christ, that's a really big ad to put in the paper!" I had to laugh. I'm asking a lot, I know. And what does the poor bugger get in return? Me. 

At sports day today one of the other parents told me that my writing is "brilliant". I didn't even mention my blog when we were chatting and I had no clue she'd read it. Between us we mused that I should perhaps write a novel..? YA fiction seemed the right fit. I later Googled "creative writing courses" and found one on Groupon for £19. Until my cheque clears, I've got £3 in my bank account but maybe when I'm done being dirt poor, I'll look in to it further. 

Could things be better? Fuck, yeah. Could they be worse? Abso-frigging-lutely. When faced with an incurable cancer diagnosis, an incredible woman said to her mother "It's the card I have been dealt and I’m going to get on with it. I’ll just put my lipstick on and face the world". Sounds like a pretty solid plan to me. I hope that this is one of these posts I'll look back on and feel inspired. Next time I'm at the bottom of the pit, I'll read this one back and hope that I can maybe see the stars again. 

One more thing while I'm on a positivity roll... My hair is amazing. I mean, seriously. It's the dogs ding dongs #justsayin. Shout out to my hairdresser, Beth Sando for giving me four years of great hair after 30ish years of many a dodgy do. 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Take care, Kati pet!

Note: This post was started (and almost finished) on Friday, early evening. I added the last two paragraphs now - Sunday afternoon - and I'm now gonna hit 'Publish'. The only reason I'm mentioning this is coz I may well write another post shortly about Father's Day. So here, first of all are Friday's musings... a reflection on a very 'mixed bag' week.

I seem to start a lot of posts with an observation about how long it’s been since I last updated the blog. “Why break with tradition then…?” I hear you say. I shan’t. A month. Last post was mid-May and I did two then in fairly quick succession. And then, silence. I just don’t feel like I had much to say. Now however, after a deeply odd week, I am once again ready to empty my brain in to my blog… Not the whole thing, you understand. Blimey, what a terrifying thought. There’s all sorts in there. Film trivia, lines from Shakespeare, the date Wannabe was released in the UK, poetry I memorised when I was seven and Macaulay Culkin’s date of birth to name but a handful of things pinging around my cranium. July 8, 1996 and August 26, 1980 respectively, just FYI.

So what went down this week that’s so blog-worthy? Well, it all started with a night out last Saturday. Fear not, dear reader, I have no tawdry tales to tell of night club snogging or one night stands… But my goodness me, it was a ruddy corker of a night. I’ve been working as part of the Primark Supply Chain at the vast distribution centre in Islip since early February. Initially I wasn’t sure if I’d take to warehouse work or if I’d bond with my co-workers but I am delighted to report that I bloody love it. I’ve made good friends, met people from all across the world and the predictable nature of the work is good for my head. A social gathering was organised for Saturday night and having missed the last one (it snowed so y’know, sod that!) I decided I would attend. It helped that Natalie, a lovely colleague of mine offered me a lift. Ridiculously at the grand old age of 36, I still hate walking in to a pub alone but with Nat as my wing-woman, I felt confident!

I won’t go in to detail on the events of the evening because I was informed by one of the Team Managers that the old “…what goes on tour, stays on tour…” also applies to work nights out but I can report that there was gin, my first (and second) ever Jager Bombs and my first vodka Red Bull in EIGHTEEN years. Yes, really. The highlight for me, as is always the case when I’m out out, was singing and dancing like a mad thing on the light up dance floor in Pop Central. I had the sense to stop drinking at midnight and by the time I climbed in to bed at 2am, I wasn’t feeling too bad at all.

Remarkably, I dodged a hangover and by 9am Sunday morning I was showered, dressed and receiving the children from Pete. So far, so good. In the afternoon, I attended a… wait for it, Yin Yoga and Gong Bath workshop at an amazing local studio, LW Dance and Fitness. My gorgeous friend (and birthday twin) Sam paid for me to go as a gift and what a gift it was. An hour of deep stretching followed by a sound bath which, if you’re unfamiliar, is lying under a quilt on your mat while the instructor (in this case, gorgeous Kanti) plays gongs and bowls and all manner of other wonderful things around you. It is essentially a very fabulous public nap with a great soundtrack and I loved every minute of it.

A sensible soul would have thanked the gods for the lack of hangover and popped off to bed at 8pm on Sunday night but not I. No, at 8pm I was arriving at a mate’s flat for a horror movie double bill. Another night out meant another missed dose of Quetiapine. While I don’t need to take it every day, I was soon about to find out what would happen when I mixed a boozy night, missed medication and not enough sleep. Let me assure you, it wasn’t pretty.

Monday morning arrived as it inevitably does and when I woke around 7am I found myself completely incapable of getting out of bed. Of course, I wasn’t physically paralysed but the notion of leaving the safety of my bed and having to interact with other humans was just too much for me to cope with. Sitting here now, it seems even to me like I must be exaggerating but I know in that moment and indeed for most of Monday, I just couldn’t. Couldn’t what? Couldn’t anything. I felt broken.

Since my diagnosis earlier this year, I’m starting to realise the impact that my disorder has on me and also, I’m coming to understand the consequences of straying from my routine, such as it is. I do not have OCD or a similar condition that enslaves me to doing certain things a certain way each day but if I do not take care of myself adequately (sleep, food, meds) then my body and my brain will go on strike. My ability to function like a normal (ish) human being will desert me.

A good sleep on Monday night meant I was able to return to work on Tuesday but I still couldn’t ‘people’. I was very much in my head. I have days like that where I power down and keep social interactions to an absolute minimum. Luckily for me, the nature of my job means that I can actually get away with being a bit of a moody witch without it affecting anyone else’s day! When I want to be sociable at work, there is scope for that but when I just want to get on with things and do some thinking (and inevitably some over-thinking too) I can. Another reason why the job is so ideal for me in my current mental state.

By Wednesday I was feeling a bit more ‘me’, whatever that looks like but I did something very un-Kati when I got in from work. There is never a time when I don’t have ‘stuff’ I could and should be getting on with but I made a spur of the moment decision to ignore all of it and start ‘The Staircase’ on Netflix. Cuppa, blanket, TV show. Boom! It’s my understanding that normal folks do this sort of thing quite often. Of course I felt a bit guilty and twitchy about it but the world continued to turn so I figured I hadn’t done too much damage to the balance of the universe.

On Thursday I had a bit of an epiphany so took to Instagram’s live feature to share it. Quite simply put, this is what occurred to me: doing nothing is good for you. I’ve been so focused this year on doing things to get better (meditating, exercising, writing etc) that I’ve completely overlooked the very necessary and simple practise of sitting the fuck down and just watching something. It was only after I posted a pic of me on Wednesday doing my relaxing with a caption about “there are thing I should be doing…” and my lush friend, Katie commented “This is what you SHOULD be doing” that I realised she was right. I really hardly ever just sit down and watch a TV show or a film… Or if I do, I’m always doing something else as well. The most common thing would be twatting about on my phone but I could also be writing or making lists or just actively fretting about all the jobs I’m neglecting by having the audacity to sit down!! No more. Just being is as important as all the doing in the world and I intend to do much more of it.

Self-care is important. Eat right, sleep well, create some Headspace, exercise… and occasionally (or maybe even semi-frequently), just do absolutely SOD ALL!

[If you're local to Kettering and you're interested in the Yin Yoga experience or in the other fantastic and varied classes on offer at Louise's amazing studio, check out]