Self-medicating in my PJs

I started writing this yesterday (Saturday) at quarter past three in the afternoon in my time zone. I was still in my PJs having had a lie in in the morning and having done very little with my day (unlike me – or at least unlike the old me 😝). My son made me breakfast at lunchtime and then I spent my time reading posts by other bloggers and drinking wine. I probably should have been more motivated and up and doing stuff – especially as it’s getting closer to Christmas and I have plenty to organise. But there I was lying on the couch writing this post (and not even finishing it). (In my defence I was feeling a bit under the weather with this cough/cold that’s not quite shifted over the last few weeks.)

So this one is a bit of a confession really. Over the last few years I’ve gradually been drinking more and more alcohol. I used to drink only occasionally. Maybe that’s partly because when I was younger alcohol was a luxury I couldn’t really afford. I was also responsible for looking after children more often than not so I always tried to be sensible about my intake. When I started teaching I could afford to drink more and I did (stress of the job maybe?) ‘cause everybody did – not usually on a school night though. Since I started really battling with depression I’ve noticed that I’m drinking sometimes to take the edge off my feelings and recently I got to a point where I was drinking almost every night. It scared me a little bit because I don’t want to become dependent on it so I’ve made a conscious effort recently to have at least a few dry days every week.

It’s Sunday now and I’m at it again. My day has been more productive though. I went to church this morning (first time in a few weeks as it happens) and I’ve made a good start on the Christmas decorations (early for me but I felt like I needed some fairy lights). The Christmas tunes are on and I’m feeling a lot more positive today.

The thing is I know I’m not alone. I know lots of my friends are drinking more than they ever did too. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism? Maybe it’s just more socially acceptable to drink with every meal or even without a meal? Maybe it is simply that alcohol is more affordable when you don’t have nappies to buy? I’m also aware that it affects me more while I’m on the anti-depressants so I probably should really be drinking less.

Anyway, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Do you drink more or less than you used to? Do you think it’s an issue? Is it a bigger issue in society in general than it was in the past? Do we need to do something about it?

I just want to write

I had a rough night last night. Didn’t sleep well and then woke up late for the plans we had for this morning. I feel a bit flat today and I just wanted to write. I looked at the posts in my drafts (some of which are so near to finished) but I didn’t want to finish any of them. I just want to talk.

If you could be here right now you’d have to perch on the end of my bed. There’s nowhere else to sit in my room. The only chair is covered in clothes that have been worn once and discarded but didn’t seem dirty enough for the wash bin. It might feel when you’re sitting there like you’re visiting the sick but I’m not sick (at least not physically).

I could tell you about my week. It’s been quite busy. My in-laws were visiting last week and stayed till Tuesday so we had quite a full house with three extra people in it. On Monday I did a day’s supply teaching in Primary 7 at my old school – that was quite nice actually. The kids were really good and I enjoyed seeing them (I taught that class when they were in P1). We were planning to go into the city to see the Christmas lights in the evening but a few of the family were feeling under the weather so that didn’t happen. It was okay though. I’ve been reading a book by a fellow blogger Yeshiva Girl by Rachel Mankowitz so I was happy to get my nose stuck back into that. I’ve finished it now and would recommend. It’s a good read.

I had relaxation classes on Tuesday morning and afternoon and dropped the in-laws off at the airport in between. After work I met my hubby in the city and we went out for dinner and went to the Emeli Sande gig. That was really good. I love music gigs. One of my favourite things to do.

Wednesday brought more relaxation sessions in the morning plus some individual sessions at my favourite school to go to. It also happens to be in the most deprived area I work in. I had lunch with a lovely friend after that and then went to pick up little B for the afternoon. I took him over to the craft shop to buy some Christmas cracker kits to send to my daughter in the States. The evening became a little hectic because of cancelled trains so I was running about picking people (including a few strangers) up and dropping them off. I also had to shop and deliver a meal to our dear friend whose husband has just died. 😢

Thursday was a good day. I went on a training course all day to learn some new skills for my business. It was really useful and I met some nice people and did a bit of networking while I was there. We had a chilled evening after that.

It was my birthday on Friday. I decided I might just stop counting my age 😉. I don’t feel any older anyway and the number somehow seems irrelevant. I got my hair done in the morning. The girl who’s been cutting my hair for years has changed jobs so I have a new hairdresser but she’s doing okay and getting the hang of how I like it. After that one of my lovely friends treated me to lunch and then I had a chilled out bath before the guys cooked dinner for me and we spent the evening pampering ourselves (I made them wear face masks too), drinking wine and singing along to the karaoke version of The Greatest Showman.

Yesterday we went over to visit some friends in the morning/early afternoon and after brunch I spent some time building Lego with their kids while we chatted. We pottered a bit with stuff in the house in the afternoon and then went to visit other friends for drinks after dinner. We quite often go on holiday with these guys and we started exploring possible options for a holiday next summer. Talking of holidays I don’t think I’ve mentioned that we’re off to visit our daughter in California at the beginning of the new year. I’m looking forward to that.

I’m feeling a bit better now that I’ve shared my week with you. It was a good one really (apart from the death of our friend). Maybe now I can get myself up and ready for the day.

How was your week? I’d love to know what you’ve been up to. 🙂

Surrender is easy…until it’s not!

I don’t know if anyone else does this but I actually started writing this post over a year ago. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder ever since. Sometimes I start writing something and it just feels too difficult to process so I end up leaving it. This one has been on my mind a lot lately so I figured that maybe it was time to finish it.

Being brought up in a Christian family I’ve spent my life aware of this concept of surrendering to God and happily singing songs like ‘All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give’. Surrender was never that difficult. I guess it’s not difficult to ‘surrender’ to what already feels like the best plan, to the things that you want for your life. Even when some things weren’t great there was always enough that was good to make it easy to trust that God would indeed work everything out for the best.

Surrender gets difficult when what you want and what God wants don’t seem to match or when things don’t work out the way you thought they would. When you pray for things that seem good but they just don’t turn out the way you thought they should. This is when surrendering to His will really becomes dying to self. And it’s hard. Really really hard.

I was thinking recently about how Jesus had to surrender to His Father’s will to go to the cross. It wasn’t what He wanted, He even asked God to take ‘this cup of suffering’ away from Him. At the thought of going through with God’s plan…

…he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Luke 22:44

Even for the perfect man surrendering to God wasn’t easy.

I wrote this prayer almost 2 years ago now and it hasn’t always been easy to pray but it seems relevant to this post.

Lord, I want to follow you on the journey that you have mapped out for me. I want to travel light and leave behind all the baggage I have acquired that is not from you. I want to put aside all distractions and not be defined by them. Forgive me for allowing certain people and things to distract me more than they should. Please help me focus only on you and on the plan you have for me and the mission we are on together.

I don’t want to be slow to follow, reluctant to surrender, or unwilling to submit. I want to be humble and submit to You in every way.

I am ready to follow you Lord. Wherever you lead. I lay everything down at your feet that hinders me. I want to know you more God to understand your heart. To follow you wholeheartedly, not concerned about how others view me or in fear of man. Give me the strength and boldness Lord to run after you and your will, to speak your words and to pray in faith to see lives transformed.

I know that you have the power to work through me Lord. I thank you for the gifts that you have given me. Help me to have the boldness and the confidence in you to use them for your glory.

I love you Lord. Amen

There are still days that I find surrendering difficult but I take comfort in knowing that it wasn’t easy for Jesus either. (Not that I’m comparing the things I surrender to going to the cross.) I know God sees my heart. I know I can trust Him. I know there is always hope because He’s a good Father. I hope this encourages you too.

Blah blah blah…

Meaningless, meaningless everything is meaningless…

B O R E D

What’s the point?

Does life even make sense?

Apologies for this post – feels like my brain just needs to throw up. Don’t feel obliged to read on – especially if you’re squeamish.

I’m fed up.

T I R E D

Don’t know what I want to say. Do I even have anything worth saying? Does anybody care? Do I care?

Why am I here?

Does anybody need me? Does anybody want me? Does anybody love me?

Sorry to subject you to this pity party.

Wait a minute I’m not subjecting you – you were warned!

I have no right to be miserable and feeling sorry for myself actually. I need to focus on His blessings. I have some friends who are going through really sh*tty stuff right now. I feel bad for them. I have it good really. Just need to give myself a good talking to.

There are some blogs I follow where the writers have been through horrendous stuff and they still find a way to show gratitude and find the sunshine in life. I used to be good at finding the silver linings. What’s happened to me?

Is this the depression? I mean it does feel better than it was… but some days… Do I just need to snap out of it? Stop being a miserable git? Maybe. Yeah probably!

Okay I’m going to leave this here. Don’t worry. I’m okay really. Just needed to get that out of my system.

I’ll be my sunny self again soon – especially if I get a couple of gins into me. 😝

Actually my work is pretty good 😉

Why is this one so hard?

On Thursday I was taking a relaxation class in the school where I used to teach. It was the first one I’ve done in there this school year and for some reason I was a bit nervous before I went. It was really lovely to see the children though and I pretty soon felt okay about it.

Part of every class is an affirmation activity and we were getting short of time by this stage in the session so I went for a quick and easy one. At least it’s easy in terms of how it’s carried out but not necessarily easy emotionally.

Basically I passed around a container of coloured craft sticks that I had written affirmations on. They say things like: I am loved, I am great, I am special, I am fantastic, I am brave and I am peaceful to name just a few. The children all take out one stick and then once everyone has one we take turns to read them out.

Often I find that children (and adults) in Scotland struggle with affirmation. We don’t like to blow our own trumpets or seem big-headed. We get embarrassed when someone pays us a compliment. It’s something I have struggled with at times even though it’s one of my main love languages. Weird but true.

While the container was passed around I explained to the children that sometimes we pull out a stick that is easy for us to believe about ourselves and sometimes it’s something we find hard to believe but I told them we’re going to say it out and mean it even if it’s hard. I had no sooner finished saying this than I looked down at my stick and my heart felt like it physically sank. ‘I am beautiful’. Ugh! Why did I have to get that one just after what I’d said? I had to practice what I preached and read it out anyway but it got me thinking – why is this affirmation so difficult for me? I don’t mean this in an arrogant or prideful way but if there is one thing I have received affirmation about over the years it’s the way I look. I’ve been told that I’m beautiful (inside and out apparently) but I really struggle to believe that. I can pick almost any other stick out of that container and read it and mean it – ‘I am unique’, ‘I am courageous’ – I don’t have a problem with reading those – why is this one so difficult? It’s weird too ‘cause I kinda crave affirmation that goes deeper than looks – but that’s another story.

I haven’t figured it out yet. I don’t actually have an answer to my own question. I know there are certain areas that I lack confidence in and other things that I feel I can say because I know that they reflect what God says about me and when I say them from that perspective I feel okay about them. I’m just not sure why this one is so hard?

Are there particular affirmations that you struggle to say or believe about yourself?

How do you feel when other people compliment or affirm you?

The best and worst of my job so far

I have to say that becoming self employed has been a really good move for me. I was nervous about it at first because I knew there were no guarantees that it would work out. I mean my business is not exactly thriving yet but I feel good about how it’s going.

I work with several children who are really struggling. They so need love and security and connection in their lives and it feels great to be able to give them that. One little boy told me recently that I was his safe place. That just melts my heart. I love being able to make a difference to these little ones.

It’s tough sometimes when I’m alone in the house catching up on admin stuff. I’m not great at being alone. Sometimes I can just stick my music on and I’m fine but other times I struggle emotionally when I don’t have people to distract me. My boss is pretty understanding though 😉 so that’s another positive. She totally gets the importance of self-care. 😊

It’s really cool being able to mix work up with the rest of life too. I like that I can go to an exercise class or for a swim in the morning when I don’t have work scheduled or read a chapter of a book or watch some TV in my lunch break. It’s good to be able to put a washing in the machine between emails and catch up with friends between classes. It also means I can fit in brief trips to the supermarket like the one I made yesterday to return the stickers I accidentally stole last week. (If you haven’t heard that story read my post Mini Moral Dilemas.)

Money has the potential to be a hassle. I’m not worried as such (I guess I’ve learned not to worry about money – that’s another story) but I’m not making (anything like) as much as I did in teaching. Hopefully the gap will close a bit in time. I really dislike doing all the money stuff – doing my accounts and thinking about pensions and tax stuff. I also dislike chasing people up when they say they’re interested and then don’t get back to you again or when they haven’t paid since May and it’s now October.

Last minute cancellations is kinda a negative (at least work wise) but I just turned one that came in today into a positive by arranging a wee night out with a friend to see my niece’s band play tomorrow night. It’s nice to be able to be that flexible.

On the whole I’m enjoying being self employed right now. There are probably lots of good business ideas I could employ to make the business more successful but I’m also aware that I need to look after my health and not get too stressed about it. One day at a time. It’s getting there. 😊

Mini Moral Dilemas

I took a trip to ASDA today to buy some cute star stickers for a game I wanted to play with the kids in my relaxation class. I bought three packs and paid for them in cash (a whole £3). On arriving at the class location I started opening the packs, to make the game preparation easier, only to discover that in fact there was an extra pack stuck to the back of one of the ones I had purchased.

The stickers in question!

What to do? Why is it even a question? I had taken (though unwittingly) four packs of stickers from the shop and only paid for three. That’s stealing right? But they only cost £1 each (hardly worth the fuel money to go back to the shop) and it wasn’t my fault that they were stuck together, right? Right? Okay maybe not.

Don’t worry I’ve already decided to take them back tomorrow. I know I’ll get weird looks from the shop assistants because 1) something similar happened to me once before and the staff were really gobsmacked that I returned the item; 2) many people would likely think – ‘well that’s a bonus’ and hold on to them; 3) hmm, I had a third reason but now I’ve forgotten what it was 😂.

This small scenario got me thinking though. How many things do I do that are morally questionable just because they’re not particularly hurting anyone? Like maybe when I park at a meter and don’t pay ‘cause I know I’ll only be a few minutes or take a pen home from work that doesn’t belong to me and never bother to return it – I mean it’s only a pen right? Don’t get me wrong I haven’t polished my halo and resolved never to do anything morally questionable again – I can tell you right now that there’s a high chance that I’ll park at a meter without paying before the week is out.

Should I act differently to the majority because I’m a Christian? What if someone has a really good reason for doing something questionable like taking medicine for their sick child because they couldn’t afford it? I think I’d do that for my child. It’s a can of worms when you start thinking about it but I guess I’m interested in your thoughts on this.

Is it just me or do people see certain ‘misdemeanours’ as totally excusable?

Is there ‘a line’ somewhere that says for example that it’s okay to steal something if you didn’t mean to or if it’s not worth much?

I’d love to hear what you would do; and no judgement here by the way – I mean I just stole a pack of stickers.