Tuesday 26 February 2013

I can't cope with my depression.

If I smile or a make a joke or dare to laugh, it doesn't mean I'm better, it doesn't mean I'm coping, it just means that I smiled, joked or laughed.

Being depressed for me doesn't have me rocking in a corner crying all day. I still do things, go places, talk to people.

Being depressed means I don't cope well when things go wrong, usually things that are out of my control and when something happens it's WHAM, smack in the face and EVERYTHING is brought up to the surface and I can't cope with it.

Mainly these are trivial things like dropping the rice on the floor like I did tonight after hoovering.

It doesn't matter what the cause of depression is, it doesn't matter that you don't understand, saying things like 'it could be worse' are worthless to me right now, because the thought of things getting worse could just be the end of me.

At the moment I'm watching my phone, refreshing my facebook feed, all day, everyday. I need to know if the tenants in our UK house are making the rental payments, I need to hear how my Mother is getting on as she is in hospital.

All I need is a message to say 'no change' They say 'no news is good news' but when you're suffering with depression, no news just means 'no one cares'.

I'm sure everyone thinks that they're doing what's best for you, that they don't want to worry you, burden you. But when you're depressed paranoia kicks in, you can't fight it, it's just there.

I'm writing this blog post to physically stop me smashing my head against the wall, the urge is so strong. It won't do me any good, but if I tell you I have a migraine, you'll sympathise, even if you don't suffer with migraines, you know what pain is like.

If I cut my head open from smashing it against the wall, you'll see that I'm physically hurt and you'll ask how it happened, is there anything you can do to help.

You don't see my depression, so therefore it isn't there for you to ask about. You're fed up of asking me how I am anyway because I'll say I'm fine, because when I'm interacting, when I'm sociallising I am fine or I wouldn't be able to do it.

I'm not looking for your sympathy, a reaction, concern from you. I'm asking you just to remember that sometimes I don't deal with things, sometimes I jsut cry, sometimes I just want to run away and hide until it's all over.

But that's not going to happen so I'll just keep on talking, crying and I may even try rocking in the corner, because I get no pleasure from this.

I just want it to stop.

Friday 15 February 2013

Do expats ever settle? I am not a failure. I am a success.

I'm NOT fullfilled, I'm NOT happy, I've talked about depression and all the other crap that goes with being an #expat.

It's NOT just me, I've reached out to 100's of expats online, via groups (face to face meetings) and it doesn't matter if you're from the UK living in South Africa (me), Japan, Saudi, USA or from any other country living anywhere else. It's bloody hard work being an expat.

Lonely, alien, frustrating, well you'd expect that wouldn't you for the first few months, maybe even a year, But, 2 years on? come on someone please slap me with a wet fish, wake me up, give me Dorothy's red slippers and wave your wand and send me home please.

But home is where now? I've lost friends, people lose interest. They think you are living in Paradise, but they forget you still have the same struggles, health, finances, kids, education etc, etc. But they don't see the other issues you have of not knowing a single person, not being able to get in the car and popping round to see your mum, not knowing how anything works. It's not as if you can ask someone to recommend where you buy your car tax from when it's called something completly different.

Everyone seems to think that the constant sunshine solves all evils and a dip in the pool will cheer me up.

I NEED a job, not for financial reasons, but for self satisification. I volunteer with Adults with disabilities and Children with mental health issues. I work in townships, with children who are orphaned by AIDS, I give and I get short term satisfaction from it. I've learnt new skills, to sew, written a book (needs editing and a publisher) I can name different types of species of birds and antelopes. I have made friends, I've established a network, but I'm still struggling.

Don't tell me to shut up moaning, I have my health, the love of my family etc. " years out of 41 years is a very short time in which to adapt and as an expat there is always the fear that sticks will be uprooted sooner rather than later, a constant feeling of insecurity and imminent change don't just lurk on the horizon, it lives with you.

I've spent two years feeling like a failure. I no longer have a career, can't call myself a SAHM, and if you know me, you'll understand why I don't want to play golf and join the expat wife scene.

Every experience I've had since we moved here has been because of other people. I've certainly made the most of the sunshine, pool, wildlife, voluntary work, holidays, because that's what I do...I survive. But it was all over shadowed by the lack of care, support and help and broken promises. That, I now realise was and still is out of my control. I have made our families transistion to South Africa a success, I had no help, knew no one, knew nothing.



Thursday 14 February 2013

Managing children with Special Needs

I am prepared to be shot down in a ball of flames for this post and do you know what....I just don't care.

I am a full time step mum to a child (now aged 25) with Special Needs.

I have spent the last 24 years working with people with special needs.

My knowledge and range of experience is far and wide.

Mainstream, special needs schools, family support work, community work. Teaching, child protection, care, support. Autism, cerebal palsy, mental health, physical, learning. Paid, voluntary.

I've been bitten, kicked, punched, had a knife pulled on me, lost someone, been threatened by members of the public, called the police to domestic scenes, attened numerous reviews, funding meetings, been spat at,, been ignored, sat in the guards van, had taxis refuse to pick us up, been removed from buses, had a lock down in the cinema, been banned entry to certain places, asked to leave others.

And why?

because I've been with another member of staff, a parent, a carer that thinks their child, person in their care has the same rights as anyone else at the expense of everyone else.

My child spits, pulls hair, steals your food, will ram you with the shopping trolley. But you will NEVER see me let her do it without some kind of intervention. Be it asking the staff at the Asda cafe to take a table order and given an explanation as to why, upon entering a shop, gently holding her hands as we walk through the door so she doesn't grab someones clothing or hair to steady herself. I smile at people who stare, I stare, I wonder if I've met them, want to tell them I know how hard it is for them.

I dread the second someone tells me how good I am, how they or the neighbour have one like that at home, ask without any recourse 'what's wrong? why are they like that?'. But I smile, I am polite, I give a brief, well rehearsed line and carry on my way.

I do NOT and will never tell you to 'mind your own business' state that 'my child has the same rights as yours and if they want to go on the slide, scream their head off, slap your child, allow my child to bang on your bedroom wall all night and disturb you and your family' and if 'you don't like it, lump it, get over it, my child is special and that means that you have to tolerate it, understand it, not be concerned by it.

My child is special, I have 5 children they are all special and although my step daughter has little awareness of her herself let alone others, it is MY role to protect her, not allow her freedom that could cause her and others damage.

Stop telling other people who have little or No experience of special needs that they are IGNORANT. You're the ignorant one for allowing any child to behave how ever they want, whether you can control it or not without having just a little bit of respect for those around you that just need a quick explanation so they know they're not dealing with some naughty child with bad parents and can then educate their children accordingly.

Oh and for those of you that have tried that and had a negative response, remember that person may have been hit, bit, spat at in the past and no one even said sorry.

What happened when I took Champix

I want to stop smoking, I've tried and by day 5 I was biting the heads off small children.

I'm not a social smoker, or one that needs to relax with a cigareete after a meal/work etc. I'm just a nicotine addict of 20 a day for 24 years.

I stopped smoking with the help of Champix in September. After 3 months of taking the pills and not smoking I restarted. Don't know if it was the company of other smokers, the nicotine or a combination of both, so last month I decided to have another go.

Day 22 and on the whole I'm not smoking as much, as in 1 cigarette every few days, but I'll tell you want I am doing......

I'm eating like a horse (TESCO pun in there of your choosing) have put on 9 kilos
I am constipated
I am NOT sleeping
I am crying
I am blaming everyone for everything
I am being negative
I am screaming and shouting at loved ones
I am trying to resolve every issue I've ever faced
I am blaming hubby for feeling like this

Today after a particular tearful phone call and a threat to end everything, interupting hubby from yet another meeting, making him travel 100's miles home. He called me back and said 'STOP THE CHAMPIX you did this last year when you were on them.'

I have a smile on my face, I got up out of bed with ease (it also helped that it was raining and the oppresive weather had cooled.)

I'm sitting here now, drinking tea, blogging, sorting out emails, waiting for hubby to come home. He said that tonight we start talking and we don't stop till all the issues are either resolved, or he accepts that there are some things that forever I will hold against him (doesn't sound much like a good relationship, but we've been through some very hard times), accepts that telling me to move on is impossible as I've never had the opportunity to explore some of these issues with him (hubby is a believer of putting stuff in a box and moving on, I can't till I've dealt with it)

So tonight, quietly and calmly and with the help of CHAMPIX, hubby has finally realised that I can't move on without the opportunity to discuss some key pivitol points in our relationship.

Blogging helps and hubby is fully supportive but for legal and family reason there are just some things I can't or I'm unable to blog about online, for fear of reprecussions, or causing myself further damage.

The first avenue to explore is the 'moving on bit' I have no where to move onto and I need a lot more help with that than I realised.