I Am So Tired!

I am so tired of all this bullshit!

For 14 weeks now I have stayed at home to keep my family and friends as safe as possible. When we were allowed to we met in a socially allowed manner and did everything we were supposed to do. I have only seen my parents via WhatsApp video calling and many of my friends by Zoom chat only. I was one of many, many people who did just that – we don’t deserve medals or claps on a Thursday evening – we just need some peace and an end in sight. Something to head towards.

And now an extended lockdown for Leicester is announced and I am so disheartened. The only thing splitting me away from being inside that lockdown boundary is the A46!

The hatred, lies and bile I have seen coming out of so many quarters this week is heartbreaking. “It was the protests”, “Eid – they should have stopped at home not been out celebrating”; “VE Day conga was the thing that did it”; “All those packed beaches” and so on and so forth – each complainer targeting their hatred at a certain group of people whilst conveniently forgetting the other scenarios. I have seen talk of “the riots that took place in Leicester” and other rubbish like that. As far as I remember we didn’t have any riots in this city – just peaceful protests on the whole.

And I think they were all partly to blame for this extension – not one single factor to blame but all of them as well as so much more – the people who have no idea how to follow arrows in a supermarket and arguing with the poor young staff member because of their sense of entitlement because they are being asked to follow the arrows – “but I only want a pint of milk” – then I suggest you follow the arrows and you will get there quicker.

It didn’t help that a multitude of people in positions of authority have openly flouted the guidelines with no regards for the message that was portraying to the general public who now think “why should I bother if these people can’t”. I say guidelines not rules because the goal posts have changed so much over the last 100 days that no-one knows which way is forward any more.

I am tired of the hatred towards teachers and furloughed staff. The lies and misinformation that is being spread is awful! Teachers have been working so very hard trying to provide a sense of education to our children and they are being shot down in flames with comments such as “I bet they are enjoying the longest holiday ever”, “Get back to work and get those children back in school”, “if you can’t be bothered to teach then move over and let someone who is bothered do it”. Our teachers have worked so VERY hard trying to help families such as ours and all the others in their school circle and it hurts my head to see the blatant disregard and ignorance being touted by certain factions of the public, the government, the media – when will they start saying thank you for everything they have done!

And people on furlough? Do you think they would rather be doing the job they want to be doing on 100% wage instead of being restricted on 80%? The majority of people I know on furlough cannot wait to get back to work rather than being tarred with the brush of lies and incompetence.

I am tired of feeling this way. I am tired of not being able to work, to find any motivation to keep going……but I will keep on – even though today has had me staring down into a gaping black abyss. I will keep going because someone out there needs me. They need me to be there as a friend or a tow rope.

I am so tired of all the hate and division. 😥

 

Changing My Mindset.

Well – the post I made at the beginning of May didn’t exactly take off with my motivation. That doesn’t really surprise me as I had other things on my mind but that is ok. It obviously wasn’t my ‘thing”

Now – just saying that it is ok is actually a pretty huge thing for me. Normally I would be beating myself up somewhat for “failing” to complete something….again! However I am not doing that because something has happened.

Something quite fundamental has happened….I have learned to forgive myself.

As lockdown started I needed to learn very quickly to look at things from a different mindset or I would have completely lost the plot.

At the beginning of lockdown I was scared, frustrated, cross, angry, feeling claustrophobic as we were stuck at home; my children were going to need teaching; I wasn’t a teacher; we were going to lose all our income as weddings were postponed; we were going to lose everything.

Everything was falling apart in front of me. In a single hour on Monday 16th March I had had 3 holidays cancelled, 6 theatre shows, my scouting, days out, work and by the end of that week I also had 4 children who were going to be at home for who knew how long.

I was scared! My time line was full of fear, judgement, death and I hated it. My head went into freefall….and something clicked.

Crisis control switched on.

My brain went into the mode it always goes into when a major crisis hits. I normally dissociate and another “inner being” takes on the duties of dealing with the crisis but this time it had to be different. It had to be sustained and it had to be durable and only I could do that as a dissociation is a short term answer.

For the first time ‘I’ went into crisis management. I stayed in control and I looked at things from the flip side.

I started my Daily Dose Feel Good Cafe Facebook group to escape from the timelines full of woe. It soon dawned on me that, although I initially started the group for me, others were now starting to use it and look forward to seeing some daft jokey posts or some daft banter. Soon we had a weekly quiz, and then a bingo night and a “support” group. People were coming together under the Daily Dose umbrella and new friendships were being formed. Families were talking to each other during the quizzes, they were enjoying the activities that I had put together to fill a selfish gap for me. I was needed.

I flipped my view about the closure of the Scout hut. If we couldn’t meet at the hut we would meet online instead. Within a week we started running joint section meetings and soon we were getting average attendees of between 15-20 young people and their families. Our district camp had been cancelled…ok – let’s have a virtual “pirate” camp – and boy what a success that was.

I was no longer “stuck at home” I was now safe at home and, as we had moved last year, we were so much better off with a garden I could look out over – albeit one in need of a lot of TLC but it was ours. The children could go out into it and they helped dig out for the allotment and the greenhouse.

We were all at home all together all needing to “work from home”. So what? We had a new internet provider who could carry the traffic of 7 devices all trying to access work, school work, entertainment. We had the devices to be able to all work together at the same time. I know how EXTREMELY Lucky we are in that sense.

I had lost my theatre trips but not my enjoyment of them and we could watch “live theatre” via various streaming services….and my tickets were mostly transferred to some point next year – not all cancelled just postponed. My daughter’s Curve Young Company started the process of doing activities from home so she could also continue her enjoyment of the theatre

The biggest thing though was my approach to the children and the closure of the school buildings to all but key workers and vulnerable children. How on earth was I going to deal with that?

I organised! Over that first weekend I was ready for the children to start being taught from home but I wasn’t teaching them – I couldn’t – they know a lot more than me already in some subjects but I COULD facilitate the schools teaching them. Over the weekend the children had desk areas set up, dropbox folders readied, archive folders ready, a new printer and plenty of ink. We faced tech issues but we overcame them and I tweaked my organisation to cope with the massive influx of children to the school website which meant it crashed on a Monday morning. We gradually overcame the tech issues and we moved forwards. It was never an option for me to “not worry about it” as we were being told by countless memes and Facebook posts. My children needed to be “in school” and those memes were making me feel guilty somehow because I was worrying about it but I stood up to myself in my head and decided that we were doing it. We were going to survive.

I did have (and still do have) a fairly big problem with my eldest son but his school immediately sprang to action and daily support was put in place within a fortnight of the schools shutting down. They have been the huge tugboat in the middle of this storm and they held onto my tow rope, helping to keep my small rowing boat steady BUT they also helped me to believe in myself. No longer the neurotic, over-anxious mother that I was described as by the children’s previous school. No longer disbelieved and accused of “looking for things that weren’t there”. They believed me. They supported me and they encouraged me.

Last night I looked at the figures about how many young people had engaged with their schoolwork  (Here if you are interested) and the one statistic that hit me most was that only 17% of children currently did more than 4 hours of study a day since lockdown began. We were part of that 17%. We were “in school” from 9am until 3pm every day with a pretty strict timetable and work was being submitted to the teachers. My need for stability right at the start was the reason we had succeeded. We are still in that category and I am proud that it is because of me for the biggest part – because I ignored the “don’t worry” memes.

When our primary school were no longer able to send school work home I rallied again. Started putting together powerpoint presentations to link up lessons from the available resources: White Rose, The National, BBC Bitesize and the teacher’s own shared file. I was putting together lessons that were engaging my ADHD 9 year old son and he was happy he was succeeding. Then a small group of others also started on the same lesson plan presentation and they were engaging with it as well. I was actually achieving something good. I still am.

I know we are extremely lucky to have been able to achieve this things and this is no way a judgement on how anyone else has dealt with their own lockdown but for the first time in my entire life I can consistently say “I am doing a good job”. I have achieved something that I never would have believed possible and I believe, for the first time ever in me.

I would always shy away from self compliments thinking it made me sound brattish but this time I am going to shout it out loud.

I am doing a great job.

Mindfulness May – Day 1

Hmm – Just seen this really colourful month planner thing on the Action for Happiness Facebook Page ( here ) which got me thinking. Could I use this to try and prompt some musings? In this current climate of lockdown and fear? Of course I can – well I can try at least!!! I will possibly get distracted at some point or other – I always do but I can try!

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Day 1:

48B24A0A-9DD4-4A29-894A-9388126E733A So then? What really matters and why? This should be easy – and in theory it is – my family – they really matter to me because I love them unconditionally and they are awesome if frustrating at times.

But – is there more? Ok – that sounds ungrateful and I am completely confused in my head so this may ramble more than usual.

What really matters? Being needed. I need to be needed. I need people to need me to do something – whether it be hold them when they are upset or cheer them on when they are on their winning way. I need to be needed because if I am not then what is the point in any of this? If I am here to just solely ‘be’ then there is no reason.

Especially in these strange and scary times – I need to be facilitating the home learning for my children to the best I possibly can, printing off what they need, finding them printables to practice their letter formation, to hug them when it gets a bit too much and to enjoy their company when they are telling me their latest ramblings about Minecraft

If they didn’t need me then why do I exist?

Now – I know they need me and I know that this is my current purpose and I will keep on going for them. Every thing I do is with them in mind sometimes to the point of my own detriment BUT if I stopped – would they stop needing me if someone else can do it for them instead? 😦

Finally Some Support

Ever since DS1 was born there have been indicators of there being something neuro-diverse with him but only indicators. Nothing to quite put my finger on. By the time he got to 3 or 4 years old I was very much convinced that he had (has) Aspergers which is now within the Autistic Spectrum.

The problem is that he, like me, is an excellent masker so his primary school – which was none too great with any form of SEND just weren’t interested. Hell – they weren’t interested in supporting the child that had a diagnosis of ADHD so why would they be interested in DS1’s masking – they called him their “Happy lad”, their “Always does what he is asked lad” even if “he was a bit loud”! Bit being used in the sarcastic form!

So he went off to Secondary school and I expected it to be overlooked again….except they didn’t. They have a SENCO who could see something was a little amiss behind the happy, polite, do anything for you boy within three meetings with him – and I was so glad she did because this lockdown has brought so many issues to the fore with him. He is really struggling with many aspects of being stuck at home including the “home education” side of things.

Now firstly – let me state – I am not home educating my children. Two of them are far brighter and knowledgable than I ever was so no – I am not their teacher. What I am doing though is facilitating their school sending them work for them to do. Within a couple of days we had started our routine – none of this “oh don’t worry about it – a couple of weeks won’t matter”. We had to have the routine because my children needed it – I needed it! And we all still do!

So week one was a case of getting to grips with what was required and expected from us and the technology involved in reaching that expectation. Week two we were on top of the tech but still needing to tweak the timings and structure.

Then the Easter Holidays and routine went for two weeks which was so hard! We would normally be doing things during holidays – like going on holiday! day trips, adventures, walks – all things we could and can no longer do (for now) so we had to find ways to keep them away from the obsessive power of Video games without leaving the house for long at all (or at all in my case!).

We joined in with the school set “Easter Challenge” – 20 activities that could be chosen out of 30 and presented in some way such as a blog, documents, photos etc. The older two chose their 20 activities and started off with great aplomb…..until DS1 decided he didn’t want to be involved. Which left me with a dilemma……do I make him join in or carry on without him and submit just for DD? I emailed his SENCO who has been such a godsend since we started looking on ways to support DS1. I explained to her that we had tried to get him involved but he wasn’t interested – that when it was submitted it would be mainly just DD and that I was telling her because I didn’t want her to think I was favouring one child over another and was a cause of his problems – blame my paranoia! She replied within an hour….in the middle of the Easter Holidays…to set my mind at rest and to offer some support and advice which we followed – and it worked – because the Easter Challenge blog that was produced with their hard work was just perfect (and yes I know that sounds big headed but…well – it was in my eyes!)

You’ll notice I said “their hard work”……..that was because once we started to carry on with DD and her challenges DS1 decided that actually he might like to join in – and he did. Some challenges they did together – others separately and they only went and did really well in the competition – I mean REALLY well! My next blog post will be about that!

So back into school routines we go after the holidays and within two days I had had a meltdown at him – because instead of doing the work that had been set (and it is challenging!) he had been secretly watching Minecraft videos! Videos of other people playing Minecraft! We tech-grounded him and I immediately emailed his SENCO who set up a Face To Face video chat with him within minutes. She reiterated the importance of doing the work, that we were all trying to support him and he had to start working with us to get his good abilities doing what they should be doing.

It seemed to do the trick. The rest of the week he was calmer, working hard, ready to submit his school work – or so we thought! We discovered when he “couldn’t find” any of his work to submit that he had again been linking in to Minecraft instead of doing his work! Another email to his SENCO and she started the ball rolling!

Since then he has had two daily face to face video calls with his Learning Advisor…every day! The LA even did two private maths lessons via video chat with him to make sure he was ok with it. When he started to have a relapse the LA brought him back into line with some firm but fair words and he has been so much better since.

If only we could have had that support right from when he was young but thank Bilio we have it now or I am not sure I would have survived this lockdown so far! Our SENCO and her team are currently phenomenal!!

How is this Supposed to Feel?

It has been a weird week – a massive rollercoaster of emotions, seesawing between tears in my eyes listening to a piece of music that doesn’t normally evoke that feeling and absolute elation and I am really struggling to work our how I am supposed to feel at any given time.

This lock down is now in its sixth week for us and today was the first time I ventured beyond the edge of my drive…..and that was only across the road for a couple of minutes and I felt sick both during and after that crossing. I should be over the moon that I managed it but I felt absolutely drained in my head afterwards! I really didn’t like that feeling!

As it has been such a full on week I haven’t blogged when I needed to so may do a couple tonight and tomorrow to get these thoughts out of my head and into some semblance of order.

Maybe…..just maybe that will help.

Floundering

A brief recap….

Dear Daughter (DD) – 13 years old – described as a “model student” and grade-targeted for 8s and 9s. Can sometimes be stroppy and typical teenage angst occasionally creeps in but, for all general purposes, a fairly easy life with her.

Dear Son 1 (DS1) – nearly 12. Has quite a few autistic traits but, because he makes fairly good eye contact won’t be diagnosed. Also showing signs of highly masked ADHD with all its traits – immaturity, distraction, lack of anger management ability, intelligent. A bright lad.

Dear Son 2 (DS2) – 9 years old – Diagnosed with ADHD and responding well to medication. Fairly placid just a live wire – especially in the evenings. He is also struggling to sleep at night making him look tired and drawn throughout the day.

Dear Son 3 (DS3) – 4 years old – bounces the walls on a regular basis, laughs if you tell him off, can be quite aggressive towards others, loud, squeally and struggling to get the concept of going to the bathroom for his number 2s.

Today my struggle is with DS1. We had a letter yesterday from paeds suggesting that he may “just be a young man with a high sense of self esteem that is causing him problems and, unless they hear differently from his school, they will discharge him”. This knocked me for six as the psych evaluation he had done suggested ADHD was quite prevalent and the SENCO at his school is actively supporting us and his teachers to support him with traits if both ASD and ADHD.

I emailed his SENCO yesterday with my head in a complete whirr because my biggest fear is that, again, we get left as a family to deal with his aggression and complete shut down when it comes to making any effort for anything. She was, as always amazing and immediately put my mind at rest regarding how she will help support us BUT that is such a long way off – especially with lock down.

In the meantime – every day we have the same battle. His lack of motivation to do ANYTHING except play on a device. It doesn’t matter what game – he was even caught playing that ruddy dinosaur game that Google puts out when they are offline! It is just the idea of being in front of a screen playing that obsesses him.

His (and DD’s)  school has set them an Easter challenge which involves doing a variety of different fairly fun activities (for the main) and I thought that, to save me the energy of having to set up two logs that they could do it together – to eliminate the competition between him and his sister.

Great idea he says – I can do that….until the point that it actually involves some work.

One of the tasks is create a board game so, enthusiastically he suggests a mine craft style game (he is OBSESSED with that bloody game!) and, against hubby’s better judgement, they started creating the board game. Great! Enthused, full of ideas, and….. bam – as soon as there is any work involved DS1 is doing everything he can to not do anything which has left DD and Hubby creating the game on their own. Suffice it to say DS1 will not be getting any credit towards the game as, in my mind, that is just piggy backing the effort and input from everyone else whilst doing nothing himself.

It is this way with EVERYTHING we do – always – and we are constantly regurgitating the same conversation with him. He is a bright, intelligent, very capable young man who is just lazy more often than not. And I know we aren’t ‘supposed’ to use this terminology as “it is damaging to his mental health” but it is the truth. I have had armchair experts telling me that he simply isn’t engaged – find something or some way to engage him – well we have tried, we have adapted, we have amended but there comes a point where you have to say “actually it is laziness!”

I just feel like this is a battle I am losing rapidly and it hurts so much that I cannot find a way through to him. 😥

I Miss…

With this Coronavirus lockdown I miss so much! I know it means we are staying safe but it doesn’t mean I am not allowed to miss these things.

I miss my Cub pack and the Cubs;

I miss my Toddler group and toddlers along with their carers;

I miss my work and the couples whose weddings we would be providing a service for;

I miss my own time when the children are at school;

I miss being able to stay on top of my work because the children are at school;

I miss my friends and family that I can’t nip around or can’t nip to see us;

I miss being able to just get in the car and pop out;

I miss going out for lunch;

I miss hugs – goodness how I miss hugs!

I miss the school runs (yes I do) and chatting to people at pick up time;

I miss the innocence that we had before;

I miss my holiday;

I miss my theatre trips.

 

😥

Lockdown Side Effects

Lockdown = staying safe at home.

Currently in the UK we are allowed out to go and buy essentials such as food, for an hour of exercise – within walking distance of home – or to go to work if you are unable to do your job form home. No non-essential journeys.

That’s fine I think. I have changed my mindset from it being “Lock down” and enforced staying at home to “Safe at Home”. It is safer to stay at home according to all the reports although if you were to read many of the conspiracy theories they would have you believe otherwise.

But – there is an unexpected side effect being felt by some – and not just me from a few people I have spoken to.

Mild agoraphobia.

Yes – I can go out BUT I am totally unwilling to. I have ventured half way up my drive and no further despite being asked a couple of times if I would like to go to the dairy for milk.

I get this dread feeling in the pit of my stomach – like a wave of anxiety – at the very though of going outside. In my head I now have that inside is safe – outside – whatever the reason – Covid-19, 5G, Aliens from outerspace, the apocalypse – is actually quite petrifying for me at the moment.

I love looking out my windows at the nature in my garden but to actually go out in it…..that is becoming a big no for me.

Back To Normal

Back to normal?

When this whole Covid-19 thing is over people say they want to get back to normal but what really is that?

And why?

Why do we want to go back to a time where inequality was rife? Where the people who have literally been keeping the country going – the key workers – were classed as unskilled? Where money matters more than family?

Do we really want to go back to that normality? Where community was only practised by a few? Where gratitude for the “dirtier” occupations was sneered at as opposed to applauded?

Personally I hope we don’t go back to that normality. I don’t want to go back to the normality of a dog eat dog world where those less fortunate than ourselves are shunned for some reason.

We managed to find accommodation for the homeless (albeit notwithstanding the problems that that brings about)

We managed to look out for the elderly and the infirm – and as a priority not an afterthought.

We looked out for the mental health of everyone not just a select few.

We started to appreciate that money and fame isn’t everything. Of course money helps but it will not prevent something as deadly as Covid-19….no matter how much you have or how well known your face is.

I don’t want to go back to normal. I want to help be part of creating a new more caring normal.

Up To Date Musings

I have had a long day today transferring all my blog style posts from Facebook into here. Collating my journey over the last three years since I last posted in here.

I am exhausted from reading back all the battles I have had over the last three years – especially for the mental health of and support for my children.
Seeing how I rollercoaster up and down as they years rolled by and finding that my strongest moments were when I was fighting for my children, my family or my friends.

Never me.

It has me thinking.

Am I only capable of fighting for others and my own mind takes the burden or is it that I have fought all my life to protect my fractured mind that it is now exhausted from doing it actively and just copes?