Tag Archive | depression

Moving on up through the tears

There has been a distinct lack of post from me lately and it probably won’t come as a surprise to some of you the reasons for this, but it hasn’t stopped me beating myself up about it. Yes! I know it is not helpful to anyone, me being so hard on myself, but as ‘Blame Honey for everything’ seems to be a common theme at the moment. I guess if I can’t beat them, I might as well join them. This way maybe I won’t feel the painful sting left by the unending feeling of desperation and isolation.

Last weekend was a difficult weekend.

NO WAIT! Last weekend was a complete mess! Decisions were made that I have resisted for so long, and as I sank deeper into the dark pit of failed attempts at trying to therapeutically parent an angry and emotional, vulnerable teenager, relationships and emotional health crashed and burned along with it.

I guess you would say…… We hit rock bottom! (I certainly did anyway).

hittherocks

Calling the police on your child was never going to be an experience that I could or would relish. After Waxy’s early life experiences, he is understandably anxious (and angry) with the ‘boys and girls in blue’, and for a very long time I have used this knowledge as justification for not drawing a line in the sand sooner – Some would say I was being too soft and making excuse for his actions, and in some ways they were right and I wish it was as simple as that, but as many of you will know:

Nothing is ever simple when it comes to living on ‘Planet Adoption’.

So if in the past I have been a repeat offender and tried to manage the consequences and restitutions ‘in house’, which has almost certainly backfired, what was different about the weekend this time that prompted me to change my mind and report Waxy to the police for criminal damage?

Was it, just simply I reached the end of a very long and crumpled straw and felt I was left with no other option?

Was it because this time it wasn’t just myself or an inanimate object of some kind that was at risk of harm? He had lost control and Buzz, Beedog and Waxy himself were all at risk of serious harm.

Or, was it the fact that this time Waxy had lost so much control that he was displaying everything for the world (okay neighbourhood, which he would never usually do) to see, and I no longer felt safe in my own home?

I could hypothesise and dissect the ins and outs of the events of last weekend but it wouldn’t help anyone.

Nor would be having a VERY long rant about Post Adoption Support, or should I say the lack of it (5 minute phone call, 5 days after the incident happened and complete disinterest from PASW about the impact the weekend had on Buzzbee or myself – she just wanted to tell me how she had had a lovely long and pleasant chat with Waxy and he only did what he did because he felt I was being too strict – Hmmmm so wanting to treat my sons to a day out with Nando’s for supper is being too strict is it?).

Anyway, this weeks’ WASO theme is ‘Moving on up’ and I suppose through all my waffling, I am trying to come to some kind of rational conclusion as to the fact that I cannot change what has happened in the past, and while it WILL this time take me some time to bounce back, we have hit the bottom so there is only one way we can now go and I need to move on and move up (and not move out as I was ready to do Sunday).

How I am going to do this?

I really don’t know at the moment.

I guess for now, all I can do is wait out the storm and not beat myself up so much for events and choices that are not in my control, and pray that one day our family’s equilibrium will be once again be restored.

lifeisabike

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“All the king’s horses”

I think I need to apologise in advance before I continue writing this weeks’ #WASO post. There is a very strong chance that this post will not turn out quite as I want it to or how the words are playing out in my head, and will instead end up sounding self-indulgent and pitiful. Over the past few weeks, my energy and motivation to write has been severely lacking and my ability to complete the most basic tasks has been quite frankly, an uphill struggle.

humpty

For weeks, months (okay, probably a couple of years) I have been treading water and trying to fool myself that I am doing Ok and my frequent state of melancholy can be directly connected to the latest instalment of the boys’ chaos and mania, or due to feeling overwhelmed by my personal high expectations of myself as a mother, wife, daughter, friend… to put things more simply! Humpty Dumpty has slipped off her wall, but instead of admitting she could do with a supportive hand to get back up on her wall, she has repeatedly, time and time again tried to claw her way back up the wall on her own, because she has become too concerned about how ‘all the king’s horses and all the king’s men’ will judge her.

The problem is every time ‘Humpty’ has slipped back down and has not had the confidence to ask for help or confide in others, she has become frustrated with herself and the self-imposed isolation she has brought on herself.

Okay back to reality. There is part of me that is questioning whether the answer is to make an appointment with our GP and ask her to prescribe “happy pills”, but realistically this is not an option and I know she will be reluctant (as would I) to do this because of past history. In any case I am not sure (for me) that this would be the best way to deal with the effects of the secondary trauma.

No, the only answer I can see, is to once and for all get ALL my family the assessments help and support we all desperately need. And, to do this I am going to have to stand up and face it head on. I can no longer let the opinions of ‘Negative Nellies’ and ill-informed, narrow-minded individuals and professionals from the past, control our future.

So where do I start?

In the past I have unsuccessfully tried to explain/describe verbally what it is like to parent Waxy and Buzz on a day to day/hour to hour basis, and explain the impact that has on us all. It has always fallen on deaf ears or it has been met with criticism and a dismissive tone – “reading too much into it”, “all siblings do that”, “if you weren’t so stressed than the boys would be more settled” – You get the idea.

The only answer that made sense to me, was for me to put it in writing and hope that if professionals read it in black and white, they maybe will begin to listen and take the situation seriously, and the Adoption Support Fund application form is just the place to start.

A couple of weeks ago I commented on Twitter of my irritation that our Post Adoption Social Worker had sent us the ASF form and asked us to fill it in as best as possible, despite us believing she had started doing this herself weeks before.

Filling in the forms for the boys was painful. Seeing written down on paper the reality of what we are all living with every day, was breaking my heart, but by the time we had filled in as much as realistically possible and sent them back to our PASW, Bumble and I were feeling oddly empowered and both our heads have never been clearer on what we need for ourselves and from professionals, to give the boys the best chance for the future.

After a few more timely nudges, Matilda (new PASW) is finally jumping into action, and after a brief visit last week to obtain the boys’ view and being rewarded with a trauma bond floor show for her “efforts” from them both (quite unusual for them to do this in the presences of professionals), she has asked us to consider allowing a specialist centre to asses our family’s attachment need, but Bumble and I are going to have to think very hard about it before deciding whether we want to proceed with it – if we do proceed, it has been made clear, we will be expected to act on the specialist’s recommendations. Quite frankly, the thought of this scares me to death and not just because my trust in professionals was destroyed a long time ago.

Only time will tell if the help from all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, can prevent Humpty from ending up as scrambled egg.

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out

Between a rock and a hard place.

At the beginning of this week I wrote a post, titled ‘Tiger feet’ about the emotional but ultimately cathartic, rollercoaster that I found myself on with Bumble and Buzzbee.

What I didn’t say in that post (because it wasn’t relevant) was 30 minutes after Buzzbee’s meltdown, I received a phone call from mother that turned my recovering internal ‘calm’ back into a broken hearted ‘storm’ and it has knocked me sideways this week.

Without going into the gory and very personal details of it. Monday night I learnt that one of my cousins had died, leaving my auntie and the rest of my dad’s side of the family devastated and in absolute shock, myself included.

Most of my dad’s family live close by to each other, as does my sister, so they are all able to be there for each other at this time.

**warning: selfish comment to come** On the other hand, I do not live near my family home and much like when my grandparents died. I am left to deal with it on my own and in private – OK I have Bumble but it’s not the same.

For practical reasons (the boys wouldn’t cope) it is not possible for me to be with them at this time and I know when it comes to the time as a family we will unite to lay him to rest, Bumble will as always find a way to ensure that I can get away to attend the funeral. On my own, as always!

Please, please don’t get me wrong, if you are reading this thinkimg I am bitter and twisted about the situation. This is not the case, but it has reared a feeling of resentment for me about the choices and sacrifices I have had to make being the boys’ mum – As Freddie Mercury sang “I am the great pretender”.

This week I have also met with our new PASW and while in the long term (or should I say for as long as she is with the team) I am beginning to think that, maybe she is someone who I can work with (so far she is really demonstrating that she ‘gets it’ and she understood when I said “sometimes I just need to know my experience is being validated and not dismissed”). Yet I still kept her at arm’s length during the meeting. Each time she began to show any sign of empathy or concern for the impact of parenting the boys, I could feel my whole body tensing up with emotional discomfort and alarm bells were ringing saying “Be careful what you say next. Don’t give her the wrong idea”.

Again my “Freddie” switch was flicked. Although I am not completely convinced she was fooled, but decided to not push it.

not ok

OK enough about my woes! This week has been a mixed week, Buzzbee has been up and down more times than an elevator and boy, has he been a stubborn so in so at times this week. On more than one occasion, when it has come to getting him to do his work, I have come up against a giant (ok, a 133cm) brick wall and proved challenging to persuade him to do what was asked – actually it has taken us all week just to do one piece of work, which once he finally started and finished it he was extremely chuffed with himself. One of the many things we have learnt about Buzzbee (and I kind of forgot at the beginning of the week) is the more you make it clear to him you want him to do something, the more he will dig his heels in. The trick is to make him think it has been his choice and that he is in control – forget threatening to not let him go on his tablet or computer, or anything like that because this boy has staying power and when fear of working/failure is driving him, personal enjoyment and privileges just are not on his radar. Well, not until he decides he wants them anyway.

On the flip side, this week the staff at his forest school commented on how amenable and delightfully helpful he had been this week (last few weeks he has been a little prickly and dug his heels in a few times over activities that he felt uncomfortable with). In fact, when I arrived to collect him I could hear him shrieking with delight all the way from the car park. Unbeknown to me, this was because he was having a water fight with the staff and children. A fact I very soon found out when he raced over and threw himself into my arms to give me a hug and a kiss as always – soaking wet boy + hugs = very damp mummy (but I’ll forgive him because he gives such good hugs).

waterfight

Beeswax’s school have been in contact several times over this week, mostly winding me up big time with their petty concerns and stating the bleeding obvious “Beeswax is demonstrating childish and silly behaviour and allowing himself to get drawn into negative foolishness. We feel Waxy is extremely emotionally immature for his age and compared to his peers” – Funny that! They seem to have forgotten to look at his records and see that his previous therapist had noted that his emotional age was significantly lower than his chronological age. If that is their biggest worry with him, then I will swap my weekends with them anytime – from 3.30 when he walked in the door yesterday he has been on TOP FORM and in BATTLE MODE.

The school have always underestimated the impact Waxy’s early history has had on him because he is so blooming good at hiding it from them and presenting himself at school as being extremely precocious and articulate, so they forget about the other side of him and refuse to take it into account.

woman-frustrated-1

Rather than my usual, getting into a pointless exercise/dialogue where I for the hundredth time find myself attempting to get them to take a step back and look at what he may be trying to tell them (In this case. Girlfriend trouble and they are STILL talking to him about GCSE options and repeatedly moving the goal posts for him). No instead I did something probably very foolish and I most certainly need my head read because rather than ague with them again, I have instead put my name forward to stand for the parent governor position that is currently available – in my head the time it sounded like a good idea, now I am wondering what the heck I have done. Not that I will need to worry because there is another adopter I know well also putting herself forward and she will most certainly be elected to the post and do exactly what I planned to do but with so much more style and experience.

Please accept my apologies for my rambling this week. Lots going on and brain not functioning at optimum level.

On a positive note: Today we have achieved the unthinkable and after a VERY slow start leaving the house. We have managed a pleasant and fun few hours as a family with Beedog visiting a beautiful local Rhododendron garden/walk. The boys had a great time racing around all the colourful and aromatic bushes and trees and Beedog was in ‘scent heaven’, although I am pretty sure the bluebells did not appreciate her flaking out on them at one point. Oh and despite Waxy and Bumble having a silverback’ moment before leaving the house, Bumble and I have got to enjoy a precious few hours feeling like a ‘normal’ family and enjoying being in the boys company rather than playing referee or ‘good cop/bad cop’

bluebellThis post was written as part of this weeks’ The Adoption Social #WASO.

Resolutions – No Turning Back

The week sees the first ‘The Adoption Social’ #WASO for 2014 and so they have aptly chosen the theme of ‘Resolutions’.

Like clockwork every year, I end up having the same conversation several times with several people and the dialogue never really changes.

Friend: Happy New Year! Soooo! Have you made any New Years’ resolutions?

Me: Yes!

Friend: Well, don’t keep me in suspense. What are they?

Me: Like last year and the year before, and the year before that. I resolve to not make any ridiculous New Year’s resolutions which I know very well I will not keep.

The conversation usually very quickly moves to their long list of resolutions about going to the gym more or finally sticking to a diet. The best one I have heard this year has to actually come from my dad – he is talking about taking up Yoga (if you knew my dad you would know that he is more likely to start avidly supporting Manchester United before he would manage to seriously take up Yoga).

Anyway, this year I am breaking with my own tradition and have made a private, personal New Year’s resolution (although now it is going to be written here it is not so private. So, step 1 is already complete).

This year I will try to stop letting my fear of the past stop me from opening up and accepting people’s support, without all the negative, self-destructive thoughts about the implications of this support sending me running for the hills and so falling into an even deeper hole of despair (although I am not sure I can fall any further. I have already reached the bottom of the well).

OK so that is the easy bit. I have said it! Now can I truly stick to it?

Honestly! I don’t know.  But, what I do know is I am the only one standing in the way of me feeling like my old self again.

I know that what I am asking of myself is not going to be easy but:-

  • I have to stop letting the past hold me back from being the mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister & friend, I should be. This scares me more than anything because I know to do this I am going to have to first find the courage to ask for the support I need to finally revisit and put the past to bed once and for all.
  • I have to accept that everyone has an opinion and I shouldn’t allow other people’s ill-informed, negative views of me as a mum/individual to damage my confidence and self-esteem.
  • I need to be kinder to myself. If I am having a tough day with the boys and I succumb to their ‘button pushing’ attempts and I respond in a less than therapeutic manner, I have to stop beating myself up over it and remember I am a human being and parenting 2 extremely frightened, traumatised (and currently testosterone fuelled) boys takes a lot out of you.

This list could go on forever and there is a big part of my avoidant personality that is saying “finish it in full and then throw it away before anyone sees it and holds you to your promises”, but I can’t!

I can’t keep being a ‘hypocrite’.

I am expecting my sons to do what I cannot do myself.  I spend my days trying to help my boys learn to trust me when they have been so hurt/let down by adults in their past. I am constantly trying to encourage them to open up and not keep all their fears, worries or problems all bottled up. But that is exactly what I do.

What kind of message am I sending to them?

I can hear Beeswax right now. – “Mummy would love us to learn to trust her to help us with our problems, but she gets to just bottle everything up and not let anyone help her just because people have hurt her and betrayed her trust recently and in the past. How is that fair?”

It would be easy for me to sit here at my laptop tapping away on the keyboard, writing lots but not really ever saying anything and over-analysing everything I have written worrying that it sounds too ‘wet’ or ‘pathetically self-indulgent’, and allow those negative thoughts to take over again and delete this entire post without anyone ever seeing it and so freeing myself from the commitment/promise of my own New Year’s resolution.

But, this year I need it to be different. Up until now the boys have not really noticed anything. They still have had their ‘bossy boots’ mummy who has:-

  • Fed them when they were hungry
  • Tucked them in at night when they ask for it
  • Hugged them when they are sad (or mad)
  • Been there waiting for them to come out of school with a non-judgemental smile (I am getting quite good at that one).
  • Played silly games and tells the ‘worst’ jokes on the planet.
  • Etc……..

But, there are chinks showing in my amour and the boys are starting to notice and so are others (including some I wish hadn’t) and I need to fix that before it becomes a problem. I want to say that I am doing this purely for myself and not because I hate that I am not the mum and wife that Bumble and the boys deserve at the moment.

I don’t have a magic wand and neither will the person(s)/agency who I seek support from. It will take time (if I can muster the courage) and in the meantime I need to start being nicer to myself and practise what I preach all the time to the boys.  I need to stop looking at all my mistakes and celebrate my achievement and start enjoying life again – although I still need to make sure that my family is my first priority and that I am still being the best mum, wife, daughter -that I possibly can be for them.

I suppose what I am trying to say as I come to the end of this #WASO post is…. This year my resolution is to start taking better care of myself so that I can be the person I want to be and start to  feel a little more like ‘Tigger’ rather than ‘Eeyore’.

eeyore

 

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out

How? What? When? Why?

I think I am going to give ‘Half-term’ a new name in the Hive. I am going to call it “How? When? What? Why? Week”! Ok I know it is the Easter Holidays but these 4 little words are overtaking my days at the moment and I am as guilty as both boys for using it.

  • “How many times do I need to repeat myself before you do as I ask”?
  • “When will you two stop fighting and just get along”?
  • “What have I told you about teasing the dog”?
  • “Why did you tell your brother, you hate him and don’t want him around anymore? When we both know he is the most important person to you”!
  • “How come he can say ‘sorry’ to you and you accept it but I simply say ‘sorry, NOW CAN I GO BACK ON THE COMPUTER?’ and you are still cross with me”?
  • “When are you going to get us our snack”?
  • “What is in it for me if I tidy my bedroom and put my clothes away”?
  • “Why can’t we play on the computer at 8am in the morning”?

Ok these are some of the more tense comments (there are lots of lovely therapeutic ones too) but you can get a picture of my days at the moment.
I am always being told off by Bumble or Buzzbee’s previous therapist, Jemima for being too hard on myself and using ‘I should have been able to…’ to further beat myself up. However last night I got myself into an emotional pickle and couldn’t get “How? What? When? Why?” out of my head. So, I found myself writing the following at 2am in the morning simply so I could settle down for the night!

  • How can you anyone be expected to heal from scars you cannot see if they still feel they are being blamed for it happening? When will they understand there is no magic wand to fix what happened? Why won’t they accept that you are doing the best you can and slowly you are getting there?
  • How can you begin to learn to trust again when so much damage has been caused and you are afraid of what would happen if any more pebbles were thrown into the pond? Why is this so difficult for you to understand?
  • Why does everyone feel the need to jump to conclusions about someone’s abilities as a mum anytime they have a ‘wobbly’ day? When will they stop blaming your past history of depression for the reason that you are feeling teary today? (It has been a stressful, emotional filled day THAT IS ALL!) How can we help them accept that some days we have the right to feel upset? It doesn’t mean we are about to fall apart again! What would you do in our shoes?
  • What makes people think that because your child did not come from your womb, they have the right to criticise or interfere with your parenting? How dare they? Why do I let other people’s opinions get to me? When they have walked a month in my shoes, then they can come to me and say they have the right to judge!
  • When will I stop trying to be Supermum and let people support me? How can I expect people to understand where I am coming from, when I still don’t feel safe enough to be open with them?
  • Why do people refuse to look beyond my boy’s behaviour? When will they start seeing the amazing boys I see? How can I help this happen? What will it take?
  • When will school understand, I am not the enemy? How can I make them see all we want is to work as a team? Why do they refuse to take on board our advice but then accept wholeheartedly EXACTLY the same advice from professionals?
  • When will I stop feeling that I have to justify my every decision to people?
  • Why do I keep smiling while my heart is breaking?
  • What can I do to make people understand? I am the boys’s mother and no matter what they throw at me, I will never give up on them. I LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY!
  • How do I keep going?

This list I think would have gone on forever if I hadn’t finally fallen back to sleep. Sometimes I really do wind myself up by worrying about things I have absolute no control over?

Time to treat myself kindly and eat mountains of chocolate Easter Eggs, I think!

(Sshhh! Don’t tell the boys!)

The Weekly Adoption Shout Out