Autumnal Update

Thanks to those who are still with me, it has been a few months since my last post.  I am holding the fort solo so  this may well take all morning to write.  Rather than summarise the last few months, let’s have a look at what’s happening now and what’s relevant to this blog.

The main difficulty I am having at the moment is with the biggest small.  He started nursery part time in September; and two weeks prior to that he all of sudden decided he wasn’t going to use the potty or toilet anymore.  Fast forward to this week, and despite my plan of revisiting toilet training alas it was not to be, so looks like we’re going to be waiting until Christmas before braving the pants again. Disheartening? Yes.  End of the world? No. He still fits in pull-ups and nappies at night.  I guess I mainly feel disappointed because he was independently taking himself to the toilet over summer and then just regressed 10 weeks ago.

Littlest small is having a bit of a skin flare-up at the moment; he had to be seen in the children’s emergency department earlier in the month because his eczema got really bad and the poor dude ended up on antibiotics and steroid cream.  It’s still something we have to keep an eye on and meanwhile have to cover him in thick ointment twice a day which husband particularly dislikes as he hates the texture!  Can’t say I blame him.

Small people aside, I have noticed how Mindfulness has been effective at helping me cope with balloons and fireworks in social situations recently.  Last weekend I was enjoying a girly night with my lady friends, we were sat in the back garden with a fire blazing and there were firewoeks going off at random times throughout the evening.   They weren’t particularly loud, and the amaretto being consumed may have helped calm to nerves but it felt like a big step. Then the following day, as a family we went with out good friends for lunch at a pub in town and there were balloons all over the place (as decorations, not where people could play with them) and I didn’t bad an eyelid as I walked in and had an anjoyable meal.  I soon forgot about the balloons, and if any burst whilst I was there I certainly didn’t notice.  Since my operation I have neglected my mindfulness studies somewhat so have made a conscious effort recently to get more into it.

One of my short term goals is to get back into diet and exercise; I hve recently purchased a years’ membership to both Slimming World Online and the gym and neither are going very well, a month in.  I have been too lenient with myself when it comes to eating and not exercising so realise i need to incorporate mindfulness and more self disciplne to make this investment work for me, starting, well, today.

I’m trying to make a conscious effort to think before I eat about if I am hungry and if what I am going to be putting in my body is worth it and try and take some steps aorund the house to stay active.  This may prove challenging with a clingy small but will do my best!

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Slaying the Beasts and Receiving but a Scratch

Oh look, here comes another mindfulness/anxiety/CBT metaphor post. Observe!

Today I did some proper adulting. However, it almost didn’t happen because I experienced an anxiety attack just as my child care arrived to enable me to partake in said adulting.  My tasks were simply to go and vote, and get a blood test at the local community hospital just the other side of the city centre.  You may not know this, but I don’t have a phobia as such of blood tests but I dislike them immensely due to the fact that my veins are rubbish and tend to disappear when phlebotomists are present.

Today this decided to manifest as a panicky/anxiety-driven flap in which my poor mother was subject to me deciding whether I was going to go or not, me actually phoning my GP to determine whether the test could wait until I go in for my op (it couldnt), phoning my dad to see if he could give me a lift to at least get me there (he couldn’t) and the whole time she remained calm and patient as a said, occupying the smalls whilst I flapped.  Eventually, I decided I was going to put my big girl pants on and go.

Having rubbish veins and unfortunately several previous blood tests, I am aware of all the hints and tricks such as being warm and hydrated, making a fist etc.  tHEREFORE I took all measures, and, get this, decided to become mindfully aware of my walking and then my breathing as I waited for my number to come up.  You know what?  It worked.  The more I breathed, the more I felt my anxiety dissipating and the more relaxed I became,  I was still slightly apprehensive but it was totally manageable.  The phlebotomist I was was lovely, and listened when I explained about my poor history with blood tests.  Usually the aforementioned tricks of the trade helped a little, but today despite my  power walk to the hospital in my coat (after voting – see adult points earned already) followed by drinking a whole bottle of strawberry flavour water, my veins did not want to play ball so she ended up taking blood from my hand using a very pretty but complicated needle – butterfly tube – plastic thing combo.

It wasn’t pleasant, it sucked when she moved the needle around in my veins to try and strike gold but I felt a lot less stressed than I have previously, focusing on my breath and reminding myself this was as bad as it was going to get.  But it certainly wasn’t the worst experience.

After that, I power walked to M&S and had a delicious lunch and discovered chocolate covered cookie dough bites and chorizo crisps.  I need to go there for random junk food more often.  I feel like the anxiety was akin to a small yet persistent aggressive terrier that once it got hold would not let go until I took it for a walk, and then it got so bored of terrorising me it just left of its own accord.

As a bonus, tonight the biggest small asked to play with balloons.  So I sucked it up, and retrieved a couple of small ballons for him and one for his brother from the “therapy balloon bag” and let them play with them for th elongest time ever.  None of them burst and nobody died.  Today was a good therapy day 🙂

Behaviour Experiment: Giving the Children (old) Balloons to play with before bed.

A while ago, I brought home a binbag of about 5 balloons from my mum’s church hall, with the intention of using them as therapy balloons. A few months later,  they are still all pretty well inflated but with enough “give” that they won’t burst easily. 

Last night I read some pretty inspiring words in a Mindfulness for Overcoming Anxiety book which I will share here; 

Know your purpose

Know your feelings

Do what needs to be done 

To wait for your feelings about something to change before you do it doesn’t work because they won’t change until you do it. We have control over our behaviour. We do what needs to be done to fulfill our purpose even though our feelings want to push us in another direction,  hence undertaking behaviour experiments willingly.
So tonight I decided it would be a good idea to let the children play with the balloons. Which was fine until 3 year old decided he wanted them all for himself, and his little brother wasn’t allowed any.

This ended up in daddy confiscating all of the balloons and the children being sent up to bed (it was bedtime anyway) where I then spent 15 minutes calming and undressing a devastated 3 year old who needs to learn to share!
But I did it 🙂 I was brave and unleashed the balloons anyway, and feel like I could do it again tomorrow. Success!
And none of them burst. 

(Almost) Daily Update

150 jumping Jacks DONE (130 + 20)

110 squats DONE 

9 Push ups DONE 

60 Crunches DONE (40 + 20)

1 min Plank DONE (50 secs, 10 secs)

1 min 50 Wall sit DONE 

All I can say is TGIF.

And husband seems to have forgotten about balloon exposure. I have not reminded him.

And I am planning another take away.
 I fail at life sometimes..not even any particular reason for it aside from I want it so I am having it. 
I wonder where my boy gets his tendencies from?!

Daily Update

I honestly thought this morning I was going to have a disaster of a day. Toddler was moat unpleasant and uncooperative,  and I ended up shouting at him. For what? I can’t even remember now. Then during breakfast he was removed from the table due to his behaviour.

My heart hurt to see it.
So imagine my surprise when I then took him to the park, as planned, and he was good as gold. I was so proud of him and it was lovely to have him to myself for a couple of hours. He had a few wobbles this afternoon but hopefully with me being back at work tomorrow he will feel a bit more settled.
30 day fitness challenge daily goal achieved; 120 jumping jacks (though had to do 100 and then the final 20 due to baby)

50 crunches 

45 Second plank

1min 20 wall sit
22 days to go!
Then I ate most of a tub of haagen-dazs salted caramel and some honey roasted peanuts and cashews. 

Final thing,  and this is the scary thing, husband asked me today if I would let the kids play with a balloon in my presence. I said I didn’t think I could, so he got firm with me and said I had to choose a day to do it and continue my CBT.  I chose Friday and I am really anxious about it, need my mindfulness training more than ever! So a behaviour Experiment is imminent. Shit. 

Still at it!

Happy New Year!
My CBT journey continues, albeit at a very slow pace. By which I mean the other day with husband’s encouragement I popped a balloon which had been panicking about the place for a while. Still did it, and still not avoiding balloons when I see them in town! 
It’s bloody difficult though. One the app I have, “distress”, it emphasises the importance of embracing any exercises and behaviour experiments willingly. This is something I need to work on, a thing I can apply to everyday tasks e.g. cleaning, tidying and other chores but need to actively encourage with therapy. And exercise.
Talking about exercise, I haven’t run since a measly 1.5k from my sister’s house to home but I have been working through this:

I completed day 4 today. Also, good news! There are no more Christmas chocolates /treats in the kitchen! The bad news is because I ate them, gaining a whopping half stone this festive season.  I am like an eating machine that just can’t stop. Each day I tell myself that that’s it, back on the eating plan but then chocolate happens. Must try harder!

In bed now after a lovely day with the smalls, ready to read more of this;

Whilst enjoying the feel of this on my face; 

I mean, I am a few months shy of 32 now. Better start looking after the face a bit more, and I like how this feels once applied (after using my Micellar Water; nice quick beauty routine tonight!)

Back on it tomorrow 🙂 

Behaviour Experiment :Driving to the garage alone 🚘

It’s been a while since a deliberate behaviour experiment has been undertaken, and this time it isn’t even balloon related!  My friend noticed earlier a burning smell at certain times when I was driving (tbf I had also noticed it a few times but total car newb here) and mentioned it could be the clutch.
Cue panic, berating myself.over my terrible driving style which is clearly the reason (note: It’s NOT although there are aspects of my driving which need work) and a phone call to the local Toyota garage.
For the pleasure of paying £65, a mechanic will look at the car in attempt to diagnose any faults.  If it is the clutch, then we can say goodbye to another £600 on top of that, 2 days before Christmas 🎄 . Merry wallet hole-burning!
And as we are expecting a delivery tomorrow, I have to go on my own.  In a potentially breaking car 🚗.  Through town traffic. To somewhere new. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!  
 I put out a plea on social media for either a companion on my journey, or someone to sit with the smalls in my house for an hour whilst husband and I went.
Nobody answered the call, therefore I am going to use the opportunity for a behaviour Experiment!  

My hypothesis is that the car will break, I will get lost, panic or otherwise make a fool of myself or do something wrong.

Otherwise, I could just drive to the place, drop my car off and have a lovely powerwalk back home 🏡. 
Current feeling is 85 out of 100 on the anxiety scale. Will know more tomorrow!

Mini Achievement 

November 5th.
Perhaps my most feared night of the year (well, the night itself as well as the weekend before, after and all of the days in between).
I just wanted to put out there that as well as enduring many fireworks displays just outside my front door, I gave toddler a balloon to play with for 5 minutes. I tried to observe my feelings objectively in effort to battle the anticipatory anxiety felt and it worked a little bit.
It has to be said I have husband’s wireless headphones on playing loud water sounds,  but still progress. 

Behaviour Experiment: Popping Balloons

This was originally going to be a behaviour experiment where I let toddler play with some balloons for one minute, but the anticipatory anxiety of them bursting was too great, so I decided to continue my work on popping balloons myself.

Last week, I acquired two black bags of inflated balloons from my mum’s church.  I brought them home with the intention of using them for therapy, so one week later I carried out the experiment.  I selected a bunch of balloons from one of the bags and brought them downstairs.

My hypothesis was that I would be comfortable popping the balloons with a pin.  My anti-hypothesis was that I would be so overcome with fear and anxiety I would not be able to carry out the task.

 

Husband provided me with a pin, and although initially hesitant I popped all of the balloons myself.  I felt happy afterwards but also relief that the task was over.  I need to keep doing this until popping balloons is no longer something to prepare for.  I wouldn’t have been able to do this a few months ago, so progress is definitely being made!

Couple of Small Victories!

Tonight I reversed into the drive first time in the new car,  and bathed and put the children to bed by myself as husband has a Kung Fu belt grading.
Have a CBT appointment tomorrow where I could get discharged,  so will need to be doing lots of hard work in the coming weeks. I am not cured, nowhere near. But you only get so many sessions on the NHS so I hope to combine that with what I have learned on the mindfulness course to tackle my balloon phobia further.
As for my general anxiety,  that will need further work but one thing at a time! And in other news, the baby has started to try and  pull himself up onto various surfaces.  He hasn’t got the strength to get himself up yet but likes to stand supported. He is starting to twist himself around when sitting too so he is definitely ready to move! 
Toddler is still kind of potty training. Although he hasn’t done a wee on a potty or toilet for almost 3 weeks, despite having plenty of opportunity.  It makes me feel sad for him when I see his peers overtake him developmentally (well, regarding speech and toilet training) but I know he will get there in his own time. Doesn’t make it easier though. I have a year until he starts nursery so fingers crossed he will be ready by then 😉