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My tool box for recovery. Tuesday December 22, 2015

So sometimes just when I think life is running smoothly I get hit by a curve ball. This curve ball came in the shape of a wonderful rescue Lurcher called Rosco, whom we adopted and after five days realised was too much for me to handle, much to my children's distress. I didn't tell them that I also cried my eyes out when I actually took him back.

And this with the prospect of Christmas looming and a couple of tricky cases at work has meant my mental health is not as good as I would like it to be... the constant feeling of panic, the autopilot switch has definitely been flipped and I am now taking medication I only resort to on difficult days.

So how am I going to manage and how much resilience can I muster?

In a few days' time I am cooking for the immediate family on Christmas Day including the ex husband and the rest of my wider family on Boxing Day! How did that happen? I mean I don't even really like Christmas...

So now's the time to really pull out my tool box for recovery:

1. Years of experience mean that I know this tricky time will pass and I need to be patient and trust that eventually some sort of equilibrium will return.
2. At the moment, I am making a conscious effort to still keep up with social engagements. So I know I don't really want to go to my Mum's for coffee tomorrow and see several relatives but I also know that doing so will be a good distraction from the rather weird place my head is in.
3. I am going to just try to take each day as it comes. Yes Christmas takes organisation but I have done all I need to do do now and I don't need to plan every minute detail but just pace myself.
4. I am going to sometimes be a little bit selfish. If I cook dinner I will be demanding that someone else washes up while I put my feet up.
5. I'm going to grab any brief moment of joy where I can. Whether it's the look on my son's face as he opens his Christmas present or going carol singing with some friends or just spotting a robin, I know these little pleasures can go a long way in lifting my mood.

So this is my action plan for the next few days.

What's in your tool box to keep you going through the most stressful time of the year?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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the room above the garage Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 12:33am

Good to see you back! My toolbox this season is wholly based on trust. Something I don't have much of. I've picked up my worries and have thrown them up in the air. I am trusting that everything will happen as its meant. Its a leap of faith, very huge for my controlling self but I am just too tired and too fed up of being the opposite that its just the right time for me. I feel free at the moment and I never feel that way. You sound like you have done something similar...and I really like that you have decided to stick with your points. Once a plan is made, stick to it and you won't go wrong. Love ratg x.

Hopeful One Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 8:16am

Hi RATG-totally irrelevant but a couple of Ronnie Corbett's one liners to bring a smile. George Trimble,Blackpool's longest serving deck chair attendant was better tonight after collapsing at work.It took 5 people 40 minutes to work out how to get him up again. A man who threw his mother-in- law into the crocodile pool at the London Zoo has been prosecuted by the RSCPCA

LillyPet Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 9:28am

Lol! :)) I love those old comedians HO. Thanks for the chuckles. LP xx

LillyPet Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 9:36am

Morning ratg :) I'm so glad to hear that you feel free :) I felt for you yesterday that your morning wasnt great, but exactly like you're doing trusted that it was just that! Your gut knows what needs your attention, so the letting go and trust you're getting used to is a great plan. A perfect ratg reframe! Hugs, LP xxx

danielle Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 6:34am

Hi brummum what a great blog which I am sure will be useful to many of us at the moment. I am very glad to see you mention taking moments of joy where you can and definitely someone else can wash up if you've done the cooking!! It sounds like a solid plan to get you through. This year I am going with RATG idea of trusting it will all be fine. For once we are spending the whole holidays at home which will be better for me and my family are coming here but just for one day and night. I am lucky that they are the most lovely people on the planet so looking forward to a day of laughter and quality time. Thank you for prompting us to check our toolboxes and be prepared xxx

Hopeful One Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 8:22am

Hi BrumMum- welcome back indeed and the Season's Greetings to you. A great blog. So which tool shall I pull out of my Tool Box? Well at this time of the year fellow humans are the greatest source of angst for me. So I will use the tool whose instructions say. "Put them in three boxes in the mind. Trobba( trouble) - avoid. ThrobbaNot - do't bother and No Trobba- stay with them.

Mrs Jul A Non Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 9:49am

Christmas is getting worse. I did my bit on Sunday for the family, well the majority of them and I got through it with the help of extra medication (Valium the night before to help me sleep, which did nothing for me except make me feel drowsy but not refreshed) plus alcohol at lunch. The unexpected happened as it always does when one certain member of the family comes here. So chaos was caused when the Champagne cork was being popped. Seasonal jollity is forced upon us and for me, being the one who finds it hard to cope but who hasn't told any of my family, that I get low, tired etc,(although they must notice, surely) feels responsible for everyone's happiness, food and presents. Sorry to be so cynical but I think we just have to get through it. I had no tools and yay!, the day has passed!
Bon courage for everyone who has a big meal and gathering to deal with around the 25th/26th. I really really want you to enjoy it. Love Julia xxx PS I am now looking forward to the 25th with just our son who will do all the cooking for me!

Leah Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 10:11am

Mrs Jul A non, I appreciate your honesty and openness. I don't think you are cynical you are telling it as you see it.I think you sheer determination gets you through.That is a real skill in itself. Brum mum, I don't need a toolbox for Christmas as I don't celebrate it, but I am very busy in my shop . I try to eat healthily and get a walk each day. Thanks for your interesting blog.

LillyPet Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 10:47am

JA I'm glad you got through it and can now enjoy taking a step back a bit, well done! It's tough if it's forced upon you the expectations can be too high for us. I'm maybe further down the line than you. If it feels like it's getting worse, you might find a way to start to plant the seeds to change it. You dont have to make any big announcements, but you might be able to gently mention bits from time to time that you're not feeling 100 % , are getting a check up and are taking some supplements to help. The first time I didnt go with the norm, it was tough but we all survived! Don't feel stuck hun. The pressure to conform may seem too great and it may feel easier to just grit your teeth and go along with it, but your wellbeing is important and you have the right to decide how you want things to go. Just a thought hun. LP xx

Mrs Jul A Non Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 10:51am

You are so sweet Leah and I think you are right about sheer determination. My star sign is Capricorn and whatever one might think about Astrology, I do see myself as a goat who will get there eventually, plodding sure-footedly with many a few slips backwards on tricky rocks. This Christmas I have fallen backwards head over heals over many boulders; maybe now I am back on track but that's only because the major family gathering is over. Sorry this is all about me. But it's been a bad time. Your blog inspired this outpouring Brum Mum.

Mrs Jul A Non Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 10:54am

Hi Hun. I have only just seen your lovely comment. I will reply later. I still have family here but am taking one member to Gatwick this pm to get on their plane on their jolly way home! Thank you so much for your advice our Little Pet. Love J xxx

Dolphin Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 10:17am

I love the trobba advice Hopeful One. My Christmas is much more peaceful since I left my relationship (there's always an upside!!) I no longer have to cook and clean in the ongoing way you all describe for people with a very rigid approach to what constitutes Christmas. As a non-English person - bread sauce?! Another example - I'd made a lovely stuffing for the bird and my father in law said - wot no stuffing? What he regards as stuffing comes out of a box ... That particular one still makes me laugh though I looked at him in amazement at the time.

It's not selfish to expect others to wash up when you cooked, it's just fair play. Strength to you all - get as much help as possible and don't get buried under the expectations of others. Thinking of you all xxxx

LillyPet Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 10:49am

Here here Dolphin! Glad for you and totally with you on adapting traditions to your own tastes! ;) LP x

LillyPet Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 10:29am

Hi BM,
I like the simplicity of your action plan. Trusting it'll be fine and that there will be lovely bits along the way. People usually want to muck in to help and if they forget, I like that you'll be looking after yourself too.
I used to over complicate things and this year I'm keeping it simple and sticking to my plans that are managable for me. Ive been open and positive about declining the big gathering with christmas cracker hats and jolly games. There have been times when I was totally up for it and who knows about the future but this year my action plan is working for me and I have a good feeling about it. Rather than just opting out, I've made small but nice plans with loved ones.
Yesterday I felt confused and overwhelmed buy trying to keep on top of how my kids plans, mine and my parents were all going to fit together. Being out of a familiar routine and worrying and not being able to sort it out for everyone made me feel anxious and panicky. But being self aware, sticking to my plan for the day, letting go of what I couldnt control and asking for a hug all helped to settle me back down! Back to positive this morning :)
My survival guide is similar to the others:
1. Keep it simple.
2. Go with the basic plan and if things get muddled, muddling through is good enough :)
3. Be open and positive.
4. Be self aware and look after self as much as others.
5. Enjoy the nice little things while it lasts.

Thanks for a great and clarifying blog BM, I feel stronger with a plan! :)
Sending warm vibes out to all :) LP xx

Mary Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 1:44pm

Thanks so much Brum Mum! Oh, I would have cried too over having to take your lurcher back. But lurchers are such bouncy high energy dogs! We have Tomy Jenny and the little one with us for the next ten days. Wonderful - but hectic and messy, messy, messy. "You make plans mum, and then I happen." Yes, Tom. Exactly that.

The Gardener Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 7:11pm

Feel utterly desperate - non arrival of taxi so had to rush about to take husband to respite. Still no central heating in new kitchen - wanted big 'splash' for my shop just before Christmas - all looks so nice, but no kitchen, no heating, so Mr TG can't go over there. I have plans for next 'stage', but winter and dilatory workmen together is not a matter for optimism. No possibility of any Christmas church joy - I think back to the chaotic joy of Christmas with young children - the endless chain of visitors, usually godparents, with presents for the children- midnight mass (or Christmas morning if no baby-sitters). Our traditional lunch the Sunday before Christmas - best, with our priest (an Irishman who had been Bishop of Ghana) and Bernard Cribbins. Sitting either side of our log fire the Bishop had a go at pantomime jokes and Bernard at writing a sermon - hilarious. When we had a huge livery stables Christmas lunch was worked off by haying up the horses in the stables - that lovely warm horsey smell. It's the last market day before Christmas, my shop's pretty - and I see it's my turn for church flowers, so if I manage to smother current angst it looks like a day on the run again.

Dolphin Tue, Dec 22nd 2015 @ 9:17pm

Your memories sound marvellously rich - hang on to them. As to the present, deep breaths and my hand stretching across the virtual passage way ... xxx

Eva Wed, Dec 23rd 2015 @ 12:12am

Sending you love gardener, and wishing for a peaceful night for you both. bm choosing your battles I think can make the difference between balance and burnout, so sad to take on a pet and have to let him go, but worse to keep at it at the cost of your health and that of the dog and your kids. I think facing up to that was braver than soldiering on. Well done.

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