In the moment… no ifs…

The husband has been away this week, he has been away with work… on a cruise… to Guernsey, Spain, and France! I may have taken the mick quite a bit especially about food consumed but he has had 24/7 sole responsibility for another adult so I imagine it has had its challenges as well! This has meant that I have had to find entertainment for myself, as me left alone with my brain at the moment does not seem to end well!

Anywho… on Monday I had supper with E. this was actually the first time I’ve properly seen her for ages, yes we pretty much have daily contact and I’ve spoken to her on the phone but actually sitting down talking in person! As always I came away feeling … I have to admit I’m actually really struggling to find the words here at the moment… I felt good but I also felt challenged – which actually is quite normal with E, and something I think is a sign of friendship!

This got me thinking though, someone had asked me how I knew E. there’s the obvious answer of meeting through church, but the more long winded answer involves ifs…. if the church was going through a building project… if we hadn’t decided to go that group… would I have got to know E?

I sometimes ask similar questions about the husband. I met him when I was at uni, and he had come home. The reason he had come home was not a pleasant one. If he hadn’t had to come home would I have met him?

Does it matter? Or should I just be so so so grateful that I have both the husband and E in my life?

As well as wondering what life would have been like if I hadn’t met certain people, recently I’ve been jumping ahead too. I’m not going to go into details, but my brain has been causing me some issues. At times this has led me to question my career as a teacher! I have had to have several people remind me that I am jumping way ahead. That is not a concern I need to be thinking about now, or any time soon – and hopefully not at all.

Why do we do this? Why do we think about what our lives might have been like? Why do we take simple things and create an idea of what our life is going to be? There’s something to be said for living in the moment – yes you get to enjoy it and make the most of every second, but also you can deal with what issues are happening as opposed to the ones you think may come your way!

Where I am…

I haven’t had a grand mal seizure (big scary full blown fit where I am likely to hurt myself) for over a month. Following the events of the 2018 it follows that I should be rejoicing and should be over the moon… and yet… over the last week or so it can safely be said that has not been the case.

I am still having petit mal seizures (absence type fits) which are manifesting themselves in different ways, and are literally (unfortunately I am using that word correctly) a daily occurrence. The thing about grand mal seizures is once they’re done, they’re done. I may need to sleep for about 24 hours and may need hospital treatment on various bones, and to eat soft food due to a bitten tongue but it’s happened, it’s over. With the petit mal that just isn’t the case and it’s starting to feel like it’s taking me over.

I’ve started to question pretty much everything that I am doing, because I do not trust myself or more importantly the functionality of my brain. This did work to my advantage when half my sermon hadn’t printed for church, but because I didn’t trust myself I’d emailed it to E the previous day so was able to get it up on my phone! On the whole though it is not a good place to be. My challenge is to work out how I get out of this ditch that I appear to be in.

However, I am surrounded by amazing people. I met with a colleague and friend the other day, I’d had a particularly bad morning, and was explaining what was going on in my head. She didn’t say a huge amount but she did help me to rationalise it all in my head. What really doesn’t help is the ridiculous expectations I have of myself! However, there are definite limitations on what I am able to do and achieve at the moment, and I need to accept that that is OK. I have heard at least two talks over the last week which have referred to the fact that we don’t have to do anything to please God, the love is unconditional and He meets us where we are.

At the moment I’m a bit of a physical mess, with risk of emotional breakdown, and at times feeling completely incapable and useless. I have to remind myself that actually, 1. the majority of the time I am doing a good job.

2. I have to look after myself, otherwise I am of no use to anyone

3. I’ve had blips with the epilepsy before and come through, this is probably just one of those as opposed to a life-altering event which I seem to have turned it in to

4. It doesn’t matter what state I am in, or how my brain is working, I am loved and God has come to me to wrap his arms around me and hold me in his embrace.

A kick; A shake; Some guts; and A step

As the title might suggest to you it’s been a bit of a week. There’s been a lot of emotion ranging from tears to vast amounts of laughter; and hyper-activity to completely wiped out. But there has been a general pattern, and that pattern is the title of this blog. Before I get in to the explanation for the first time in what seems like a long time I feel excited about what is in store, I’ve got no idea what it is and I’m flippin scared as well but I feel like I’ve been static and I’m starting to move. So what is the pattern?

There have been a few times this week where I felt like I have had a kick up the backside, there have been times when that has Been for practical reasons, but other times because I have been reminded of something. But every time I’ve been kicked it’s been to bring something to the surface.

Once it has been brought to the surface I’ve metaphorically been shaken as I have recognised the effect and impact it has had on me, in all areas of my life, and often on those around me as well.

Usually by this point the tears have well and truly taken over, but every time I have felt felt that I’ve had to have guts, I’ve had to be bold and brave and have had to share the issue with someone else, this has often been embarrassing and humiliating but, by sharing I have been able to seek advice but also be held accountable. I am so blessed to have had 3 people in particular who have been there more than they needed but who have responded even after the point when I approached them.

I was pretty much dry of tears at this point and there was only one thing that could be done, be brave, take a step, make a move. This is the bit where I have already seen God at work, and am excited to seek what it will lead to next, but knowing the darkness of situations, I am also mighty scared about what this will mean to me, expectations there will be, and changes that will need to be made.

I’m sorry for the crypticness but I wanted to share the way in which I really do feel God has been starting to make me move again after a time where I have probably chosen to stay still, or dig deeper away from the message! Next time you feel a kick up the backside, take note and see if it’s time to take note – I dare you!

Simple Things

It’s fair to say I was in a bit of a foul mood over the weekend. I’m not entirely sure why, it could be the effect of new drugs, it could have been having to say goodbye to mum, it could have been having to do lots of work before going back to school. Whatever it was, I was NOT happy.

My alarm went off this morning, you’d think it would be a struggle, a snooze button… but no… alarm off, I got up and in to the shower. My bag was packed full with various snacks and things to last for the term, so I was weighed down as well for my 45 minute walk. By the time I got to work, there was a spring in my step and I was feeling good.

By the end of today I felt so much better than I had for most of the weekend. Why? I’m honestly not sure other than simple things of routine at work just made me feel better. I’m always happier when I know what’s going on, and when I know there’s a plan.

One of the this I’ve missed most since I’ve been ill is not knowing what my brain is going to be like and therefore not being able to make plans, go running, etc… maybe just being back in some form of routine was enough to make me feel ‘normal’ or more normal anyway!

It probably also helped getting feedback from people pointing out that I was looking a heck of a lot better than the last time they saw me and that I’m healing well!

Without blemish…

On Thursday I returned home from work and my fb status suggested that I was grateful to have made it to the end of term; kind of in one piece; and that next term I was hoping it would be more ‘normal’ although I wasn’t entirely sure what I meant by that.

So why a status like that? I have to admit that this last term has been one of the toughest terms that I’ve ever had, and for no reason other than the malfunctioning of my brain and the effect that has had on every aspect of my life. I’ve been loving my job, the teaching and everything else, but the effect it’s had on me mentally has been… well I’m not really sure how to define it. Just as I was struggling with coming to the end of term anyway, it all ended with me face-planting a step at school – essentially having a seizure face first, resulting in a lot of cuts, bruises, black eyes, bitten lips and a bitten tongue. So my last week at school involved looking horrific, and a lot of explanations of why I looked so horrific.

I’ve always been very lucky and have never really had any issues with my skin. No real issue with pimples, never any real need for make-up, the only time that there has been issue has been through my own fault – last year I scratched away at my skin through anxiety; or through seizures – falling down the stairs breaking my nose and wrist; falling onto a concrete floor knocking my teeth out and splitting my lip open… and those are just a few with the latest one adding to the file!

This year I’ve been listening to the ‘Bible in one year’ I’ve tried reading it previously, and never got very far, but listening to it as I walk to work has been quite good. Every day there is a psalm or a proverb; an extract from the New Testament and an extract from the Old Testament. The Old Testament readings recently have been from Leviticus and Numbers. Both of these involve the instructions given to the Israelites for sacrifices that they were to make to God. A lot of sacrifices were involved, for a lot of different reasons, but whenever it mentioned the animal that was to be sacrificed it mentions that the animal is to be ‘without blemish’.

What has any of this got to do with any thing? At the moment every time I look in the mirror I am reminded of the seizure I had, the issues that my brain is causing for me at the moment. However I need to think New Testament with my face and brain at the moment!

Today is Easter Sunday, where we celebrate Jesus rising from death. The death that he died as the ultimate sacrifice so that we don’t need to make those sacrifices of animals without blemishes anymore. We all have blemishes, none of us are normal, but none of that matters. We are loved by God for who we are, what we are, and what we have done.

My brain is not perfect, and that has meant that I have scars all over my face at the moment BUT I am still loved, and in God’s eyes I’m perfect. Because of his love, his grace, I have been made blemish free. I really do need to make sure that I have that New Testament vision… and I hope you do too!

Happy Easter

Survival

Survival is a word I’ve used a lot over the last few months…why? Well because that is what I feel I have been doing for the entirety of 2018 so far… SURVIVING. Having spoken to a few people over the last few days I am aware that this is very much my own perception of my life, but still… it is my perception that in 2018 so far, I have survived.

What do I mean by this? Well I don’t feel that I have accomplished anything, succeeded at anything, achieved anything. I have gone to work, done what I’ve needed to do, and come home.

Before I get bombarded by lectures from people, I am also very aware that this is in comparison to accomplishments that I have made over the last few years, with weight loss, running, general health successes. AND if I were to compare the last few months with my life 4 years ago, I’d probably be amazed at what I was doing! But for the Helen of recent years it is definitely just a feeling of survival. So I felt the necessity to look up the definition…

“the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances.”

Now that makes more sense… I think we can safely say that 2018 has consisted of difficult circumstances for me, and yet despite some people trying to stop me the one thing I have tried to do is continue to live. Survival for me was being determined to not let the epilepsy take over. I may not have been able to flourish, or grow (although my clothes may say something different) but I have been in a state of continuing to live and exist.

A friend told me today that they know many who have given in and taken time off for much less, so what is it that has made me want to survive, and enabled me to do so?

I think the life style changes of previous years have really had a lasting effect on me.

I can be a right stubborn wotsit and I was so frustrated by my brain that I was determined not to let it take over my life!

E has been a literal daily dose of whatever was required… listening ear, encouragement, support, fellow frustration, words of wisdom

I love my job, and it brings me joy when I am struggling

I am surrounded by the most awesome people in all areas of my life who support me in numerous ways, and without whom I’m not sure survival would have been possible!

There will be times when we grow, thrive, flourish. There will be times when survival is what we have to work for. I have said numerous times ‘ALL I’ve done is survive” when actually I need to realise what an achievement that is.

Found…was it lost?

I was greeted by some odd looks and some scared faces yesterday. Why? Well one friend called me manic! But essentially it was because I had energy – and quite a lot of it! Why should this result in odd looks and scared faces? Because for months I have been similar to a zombie, in either a state of complete and utter confusion, violently twitching, or exhausted – and times when all three were at play.

The last few days in the classroom have been an absolute joy. It’s hard to put my finger on what has been so good about it… except for the fact that it feels like my ‘old self’ is back. It really is as if I have ‘found’ myself, but I didn’t realise I had ‘lost’ myself in the first place. I knew that I was getting confused… I knew I was tired… but I still thought I was being myself.

Obviously we all go through seasons, and there are going to be times when we go through highs and lows. We all expect that, but this feels slightly different. I have been able to do more, I have been more excited about small and simple things, I have shown more joy and excitement in the class, I have had ideas about future events. Essentially I have done more than surviving – which is what, this week, I have realised I have been doing for most of 2018 so far.

A friend, whilst seemingly scared at times, has done a great job of pointing out to me, that things I’ve been doing this week, attitudes I’ve had to things this week, wouldn’t have been possible, or even been on my radar in previous weeks – which is a good thing.

I don’t think it’s an issue that I hadn’t necessarily realised there was something ‘missing’ before, but I think I do need to be grateful for and make the most of times such as this. I also have to try and not get too caught up and expect this to be ‘normal’ after all, as I said in my previous blog we can’t really know what our normal is!

For now… time to get up, get going, and make the most of it!