Anxiety, Challenging, Change, Chronic health condition, Death, Depression, Doctors, Exhausted, Family, Gastroparesis, Generalised Anxiety, Grief, Mother and daughter, Panic Attack, Siblings, Sisters, Social Anxiety, Step-father, Tired

2017

Well another year is over! I survived another 365 days of being chronically sick, mentally sick and grieving. I stayed alive to see another year through. I should be proud of myself right? I wish I could say that 2017 was my year, but it really wasn’t.¬†

Here’s an overview of what happened in 2017:

The best thing to happen in 2017 is that I got my puppy Asher in June! She is the sweetest little cavoodle, although she does have a bit of a mean side like her Mum… (me)ūüėȬ†She is now 8 months old and going through her terrible threes a little bit. Yikes, indeed. But when she’s not running around trying to chew everything and destroy tissues she is loving and loves to give you hugs and affection. She has been a great distraction and friend for me but that’s not to say that it’s been easy looking after her. There are some days when I’m just too exhausted emotionally and physically to give her what she needs (a walk, attention and to be played with ect) and that’s where my Mum steps in. Sometimes I wish that I didn’t get her and have the extra responsibility but I guess that extra responsibility is what I need to make sure I don’t become a complete hermit and let myself get sucked into the dark hole of depression and lay in bed all day. Asher makes me get up out of bed, feed her and look after her. I love her so much and could never re-home her but I’d be lying if some days I thought it would be easier without her… Those thoughts usually only occur when like I said before, I’m exhausted -usually from life- I’m in a lot of physical pain or when I’m having a really hard time with my anxiety and depression. It’s nice though that when I am feeling so down she comes into my room and climbs onto my bed and attacks me with her kisses and hugs. She can make me smile when I feel like I might never smile again.

Here’s a photo of one of the funnier ways she’s fallen asleep. ¬†

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She also has her own Instagram page if you’re interested!¬†https://www.instagram.com/asherthecavoodle/

There was also a lot of bad sh*t happen in 2017, mostly regarding my physical and mental health. My physical health got so much worse which I didn’t think was possible but I was so wrong. My chronic fatigue became unbearable to the point of me literally not being able to get out of bed or I was able to just make it to the couch and that is where I stayed for the rest of the day. My gastroparesis also went through a couple of pretty bad flares which left me in a lot of incredibly bad pain and nausea. My medication for that also stopped working like it used to so I stopped that for about a month to give my body a break from it and just stuck to soft foods while I let my body rest and now I’ve been back on that for the past few months. I didn’t lose anymore weight, I actually put about 2kgs back on. Dammit! I tried to walk everyday but between my physical health and mental health I had a pretty hard time with that.¬†

I joined my local youth programme within my council and went to one of their programmes which was once a week for 4 weeks. That didn’t help at all with anything and was really just a waste of time. I never heard back from the youth worker after that finished though so no more help from them.¬†
I went to a programme at the outpatient pain clinic at my local hospital. That was for two days and once again, I didn’t find helpful at all…¬†

I really suffered with my mental health. There was a period a few months ago where I thought I was going to end up back into the psych ward but I was able to medicate myself and find a way out of that suicidal hole. I still have extremely bad anxiety every day so me going to both of those programmes I mentioned above was such a big deal for me even if I did come home and have a  total breakdown and panic attack over it. 
I continued to see my psychologist regularly and even spoke up one session and told her that what we were doing and some of the things she said to me wasn’t helpful. That was a massive step for me because I had never said anything to her about how what she was saying I found unhelpful before.
I started seeing a new psychiatrist whom I have been seeing every fortnight. She has been very helpful medication wise but there have been a few things she has said in our sessions that I found to be very insensitive and hurtful. I tried talking to her about how I found those things she said insensitive and hurtful and I was semi-able to say what I wanted to say but I also found myself lying to her about something because I felt like she would never hear me properly…
She started me on a new medication to help me sleep and with a few dosage changes we have found a dosage that usually gets me to sleep and keeps me asleep. It doesn’t work all the time but I don’t expect it to work every single time. She also started me on a new medication to try to help me with my chronic fatigue and I guess it works the tiniest bit. It takes a very thin layer off of my fatigue so that I’m able to get dressed and move off the couch but it hasn’t helped with my brain fog or given me energy. I don’t know if a higher dosage would help or not but for now we’ll keep it at what it is. She also gave me a new medication for my anxiety and panic attacks and that definitely helps but I try not to take it unless I really have to and can’t handle my anxiety or if I have to go somewhere like to a medical appointment. I also take it if I’m having a really hard day with my depression and grief.¬†

Yes my grief is still here and active. I still miss Chase every single day and struggle with him not being here. I don’t cry as much as I used to and I don’t know if that’s because I’ve gotten better at suppressing my overwhelming grief or if I’ve become more detached from my feelings but there are still days like I mentioned before where the grief is so bad that I can’t handle it and I have to take something to help me get through the day. ¬†
2017 marked 4 years since Chase’s death and it also would’ve been his 9th birthday if he was still alive.
A few people said this year that it was time that I moved on from Chase dying and that it had been long enough and to them, four years might sound like a long time but to me, it feels like it happened last week or a year ago. People also said that Chase dying was the cause of all my health conditions and to that, I say no, it wasn’t. It is so unfair and disgusting that they are happy to blame my baby brother’s death for the reason I’m sick. I had stomach problems since I was a BABY! NOT only after Chase died. Sure, the emotional stress put a strain on my body and therefore triggered or flared my stomach problems up but him dying didn’t cause them. Same with my anxiety and depression. I was already starting to get anxiety from school and my stepfather before Chase died and I was also starting to show signs of depression before Chase died.
I will continue to grieve my brother because I have that right and if his death and my grief stops me from doing certain things in life then that’s fine too. What I went through was so incredibly horrific and I have the right to take as much time as I need to heal and process what happened. My brother dying, my right to take as long as I need to grieve.

Since we’re talking about siblings, my sister Holly comes to mind as one of that bad things of 2017. She continued to hate on my Mum and I for saying that we didn’t like her boyfriend and therefore pushed us out of her life. I decided to write her a letter which she read but never responded to and then in April after not hearing from her for months she randomly messaged me one day asking for my details for her will. I messaged her back and said that I hadn’t heard from her for months and then all of a sudden she wanted my details for her will and that that isn’t ok. She then decided to tell me (all through message) that she had a brain tumour not that I would care! Yes, you read the right folks. My sister told me over message that she had a brain tumour and then added that I wouldn’t care.
(Side note: For those of you who are reading ¬†this blog post and who haven’t read my other posts about my brother Chase, he died from a rare, incurable and inoperable brain tumour at the age of 5 and from the day he got diagnosed to the day he died it was 12 weeks.)
So of course I rang her straight away and asked her what was going on and what did she mean when she told me that she had a brain tumour and she told me that she had a MRI done and they found a brain tumour. Well, that brain tumour ended up being a pretty common pineal cyst, NOT a brain tumour.
The fact that she said and I quote ” I have a brain tumour not that you’d care” hurt me so ¬†much. The next day I rang her and said to her that if she wanted to talk about the letter that I sent that I would be happy to talk to her but I also said that if she wants that to happen that she has to contact me and that I wouldn’t chase her around trying to get her to talk to me. Well, I never heard from her again so I guess she didn’t miss me that much and doesn’t want to have me in her life…¬†
I am so hurt that she basically disowned me but I have to accept that I guess. Holly will never be able to be the sister that I want and we’ll never have the relationship that I want to have. And before you say “But you’re family” or “Maybe in a few years you two will reconnect”, Holly and I have always had a very strained relationship and the fact that she dislikes my Mum so strongly I can’t handle. I don’t want to have someone who can feel so negatively about the ONE person in my life who has been there for me through everything and who is my best friend. Anyway, that’s another story for another day.¬†

So basically 2017 was a big ball of sh*t! It was meant to be my year for everything to change from 2016 but that didn’t happen. I really need 2018 to be different; I don’t know if I’ll be able to survive another year like 2017 and have nothing change. I will take all the steps that I can towards things changing this year but I also think people in my life need to remember that I’m not just fighting mental health issues OR physical health issues, I’m fighting BOTH at once. It’s not one or the other for me.¬†

I hope 2018 will be the year that things change for the better for you people reading this and that you get everything you want. I also hope that 2017 wasn’t too bad for you.

Keep safe,
Maddy xoxo  

 

Twitter: @DMWAAG
Email: depressedmesswithanxietyandgrief@outlook.com
Featured Image: http://imperial-properties.com/en/2017-happenings

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Abuse, Challenging, Change, Chronic health condition, Depression, Exhausted, Family, Fat shaming, Mother and daughter, New housemate, Step-father, Tired

Change Is Good… Right?

We all experience change in our life. Sometimes it’s compulsory and sometimes it’s by choice and sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. Change is inevitable.

Well two months ago I experienced a big change and I have been struggling with it every day. I’ll get to what that big change was soon but first I’m going to tell you why this big change had to happen.

We have been struggling with money ever since we got kicked out of my step-fathers (Michael) house with nothing. We have been borrowing money off of friend’s for rent but we can’t ask them anymore because that’s just not fair on them, so now that we aren’t borrowing money off people we can’t afford our rent which is where Mum’s male friend comes in to play. Lets name him… Ned

Ned and Mum have known each other for a few years now and have dated on and off throughout those few years and I have always been pleasant bordering on friendly to him but the truth is, I just don’t like him; he hasn’t treated Mum the way I think she deserves to be treated and has said some pretty bad things to her. Ned is extremely immature and pretty much a man-child. He’s lazy and doesn’t put any effort into anything.¬†Two months ago Ned moved in. It was an extremely difficult decision for Mum to make and it’s a decision she didn’t make lightly but we need help with the rent and he’s that help.

For four and a half years it has just been me and Mum. Mum and me watching TV, Mum and me in the kitchen, Mum and me going for walks together and now it’s Mum, me and Ned. Not all the time of course; Mum makes sure that we get our mother/daughter time together but when Mum and I are just chilling at home watching TV it now includes Ned if he’s not in his room and if Mum and I are chilling in the lounge room that’s where he is too 90% of the time.
For four and a half years Mum and I’s home has been a safe place and a male energy free zone but now it’s contaminated with male energy and I’ve got to say, Ned’s energy isn’t that great as he sulks and has the sh*ts a lot of the time because he’s not getting what he wants which is Mum’s undivided attention and devotion to him. As you can probably tell by now, I’m not his #1 fan!

I completely understand why he’s here and he lowers the rent cost and I know this wasn’t an easy decision for Mum at all so I don’t resent or blame Mum for anything. I feel annoyed and angry that this (Ned moving in) was the only option we had otherwise Mum and I would’ve been homeless. I’m angry at Michael for not giving Mum the settlement she deserved and earned and instead he gave her nothing.

For the two months that Ned has lived here he hasn’t done anything to help around the house. He knows that Mum and I have chronic illnesses and still, no help. If he takes the recycling down he makes sure that we know and see him by telling us that he’s taking it down. What does he want? A medal for taking the freaking recycling down that we all do as well and that he contributes too? I’ve done the vacuuming and Mum has also and she asked Ned if he could do it and he still didn’t do it, I ended up doing it. His laziness infuriates me to no end because when I’m sitting on the couch all day it’s because I am so fatigued I can’t keep my eyes open and because all my joints and bones are throbbing and my feet are burning, NOT because I’m lazy. Ned doesn’t have any health conditions. He doesn’t have chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia or lupus, so when he doesn’t do anything and sits on the couch all day it’s because he’s lazy.

I am trying so hard to adjust to this big change and to remind myself that this won’t be another Michael situation. You would know what I mean by that if you’ve read some of my other posts but in a nutshell the Michael situation was him judging me, fat shaming me, telling me I was lazy, hating on me, getting jealous of me and my relationship with Mum and glaring at me every other minute for no reason. Basically he acted like he hated me and couldn’t stand me. I know Ned isn’t Michael because there’s only one Michael, and that’s Michael, but that doesn’t mean that the way Ned has been behaving this last week hasn’t triggered my PTSD into feeling like it was another Michael situation happening…
The other day Mum and Ned were fighting and Mum went to her room to get some space and an hour later or so Ned just walked into her room without knocking demanding that Mum talk to him and when she said no and went to shut the door Ned resisted against it.¬†So Ned barging into Mum’s room without knocking and resisting it when Mum closed it just reminded me that¬†that was how Michael would react to a fight so that then triggered me.
I promised myself that if another man ever behaved in a way that was out of line or threatening towards Mum that I would say something and stand up for Mum and not sit back quietly and not saying any thing like I was forced to do with Michael.
Well, it’s safe to say that I said something to Ned! I walked up to him in the lounge room and at first I talked very calmly and I said to him that if he wants to talk to Mum that’s fine but don’t you dare barge into her room without knocking and then resist against the door when Mum tries to close it. He argued with me and said that he didn’t resist against it and I said fine, but you do not just go into Mum’s room without knocking ever again. I started yelling then and said that I will not have another Michael situation again and he said that he’s not Michael and then I completely lost my cool and started screaming at him and I don’t really remember what I said but I do remember saying something about my health and Mum’s health not needing this and for him to never talk to me again…
He and Mum then got into a screaming match and they had a big fight and Mum told him to move out. He left for a few hours and then when he came back he just ignored me completely and then also ignored me all of the next day but that was also another trigger because Michael would just ignore me, so Mum told Ned to talk to me and to stop ignoring me and now we talk about the weather and how his keyboard wouldn’t work.
I told Mum that I would like to sit down and talk with Ned and apologise for yelling because I know that that’s not how you tell someone how you’re feeling and I would also like to explain to him that me screaming at him wasn’t all about him, that it was years and years of pent-up anger with Michael and I just released a little bit on to Ned and I would also like to explain that he triggered my PTSD and also to remind him that him moving in has been extremely hard for me and that it’s only been 2 months and that for nearly 5 years before that it was just me and Mum and that the past experienced I’ve had living with a man haven’t been great at all and to try to get him to acknowledge that I am trying and that he already knew that I didn’t really want him to move in.
Well, Mum’s asked for us all to sit down twice now as I would like to talk to Ned and both times he has said no and hidden in his room so we couldn’t talk.
Mum and Ned are working on the fight they had and the issues in their ‘relationship’ and Mum has decided to move on from the fight so Ned isn’t moving out now.
I’m hoping that within the next two days I’ll be able to have my talk with Ned.

I have a hard time letting things go and forgiving people, that’s something I have to work on. Mum on the other hand, is very forgiving and good at letting things go…

So, so far this big change hasn’t been the best but I really do hope that it does get better because I don’t like feeling how I feel towards Ned and feeling triggered… I also don’t like how this has put Mum in the middle of Ned and I; that’s not fair on her and she doesn’t deserve to feel like that and have to feel like she has to choose between us. I would never want her to feel like that.

Keep safe everyone,
Maddy xoxo

P.S- I now have an email! Feel free to send me any thoughts you have on my posts if you don’t want other people to see and also feel free to send me your ideas for what I should write about next! Here’s my email: depressedmesswithanxietyandgrief@outlook.com

Feature image: http://webecoist.momtastic.com/2008/11/30/earth-seasons-spring-summer-winter-fall-autumn/

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Death, Depression, Family, Grief, Siblings

How Many Siblings Do You Have?

(Just for reference I have a younger brother who is 11 years old and an older sister who is 21 years old )

How many siblings do you have? It’s a simple question that surprisingly comes up quite a lot in conversation. Whether you’re on a date getting to know someone, in general chit chat/small talk or at a doctors appointment, people for some reason feel the need to ask you about your siblings and if you have any and how many. I don’t know why they can’t stick to talking about the weather or other neutral topics…¬†I do understand that it’s what we’re grown up to ask and that it’s polite but maybe we need to start teaching people to think that maybe the person they’re about to ask has lost a sibling and that asking that simple question might not be so simple for them. ¬†

It’s a question that a lot of people don’t have a problem answering but to us bereaved siblings it’s a reminder of everything that we don’t have, have lost and of the brother or sister who has died. As soon as you hear those words it’s like a punch to the gut and it feels like your heart is being ripped out of your chest; well that’s what it feels like for me anyway.

Whenever someone asks me that question I always freeze and start to stutter out words that make no sense or look at them and start to cry because I never know what to say.
What do I say?
Here are my options that I have come up with:

  • That I have 3 other siblings
  • That I have 2 other siblings and one died
  • That I have 2 other siblings and leave Chase out of it completely and don’t mention him at all

Is it disrespectful to Chase if I don’t mention him at all though? But¬†if I say that I do have two other siblings and that one died then they’re probably going to want to ask me about it and how he died. The problem with that is that I then don’t know how much or how little to tell them and what I should and shouldn’t say about the whole thing.¬†When people ask me how many siblings I have they sometimes also want¬†to know how old they are and if they’re younger or older than me. ¬†Chase died when he was 5 so if I do decide to include Chase in my siblings when answering the question do I say the age he was when he died or the age that he would be now if he was still alive? He would be 9 if he was still alive today…

So many sub-questions for what would seem like an uncomplicated and easy question to start with and to answer…¬†

Losing a sibling is such a different experience to losing a child, it’s a different relationship that no one will ever understand except you and your sibling.
I feel like I not only lost my brother, but I also lost my best friend and partner in crime when Chase died and reliving everything that happened if someone asked me how many siblings I have and I include Chase it will just be too painful to have to do that and to try to keep myself together.¬†¬†It’s too painful to think about let alone say out loud.

I wish there was a handbook that could tell me how to grieve and what I’ll feel and what to say in situations where I don’t know what to say. My Mum says that it’s a good way of remembering your sibling and that might be so, but for me, it just makes me really sad and brings up all the grief feelings to the surface that I try to bury down so I’m not consumed by them everyday.¬†

It’s incredibly tricky and confusing¬†to know what the right answer is and I just don’t know what to say…¬†Maybe one day I will figure it out but at the moment whenever I get asked I’ll probably still freeze and start to stutter out words that don’t make sense. ¬†

If any of you reading this post have lost a sibling and get asked that question what do you say and what’s your answer to the person asking you? Let me know in the comments.¬†

Keep safe,
Maddy xoxo 

Feel free to follow me on twitter. It’s a bit all over the place but hey, that’s me! ūüėČ

 

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Chronic health condition, Depression, Doctors, Exhausted, Family, Grief, misunderstood, Mother and daughter, Tired

Behind The Mask

Behind my mask I am struggling everyday and I am trying to be the strongest that I can be.

A lot of doctors have no idea about mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety. It astounds me when a medical professional (especially if they’re in the mental health field) says or does something completely wrong knowing that you are mentally ill.¬†

I had an appointment with my gastroenterologist the other month and it was the day after Chase’s birthday or death, I can’t quite remember… Anyway so I was obviously more upset than normal and crying more, so I went into his office and had my appointment and told him how I’m really struggling at the moment and he only said ‘Well of course you are’, yeah that’s fine whatever, but when I went back two months later, I had been having a really hard time and feeling suicidal the week before the appointment so I went in and he asked me how I was going and I said ‘not good at all actually’ and he just said ‘well you look like you’re doing a lot better which is good’ and mum was with me this time and she spoke up and said ‘no, she really hasn’t been doing well and she’s really struggling’. Bob (my gastroenterologist) cut her off and argued with mum saying that I look like I am doing better and then I spoke up and said ‘just because I’m not crying doesn’t mean I’m feeling any better.’ Bob just stayed quiet and ignored that and went on to ask me about how my gastro symptoms are going. I felt so belittled by Bob and like he didn’t understand mental illnesses at all. It was a really horrible moment.

In the past a similar thing has happened and it was even harder because it was in a special mental health school. The teachers’ always thought that because I had smiled or laughed that day I was automatically not depressed anymore and they would treat me differently. My case worker saw that and understood how I was feeling, so quite a few times he had to remind those teachers that just because I smiled or laughed doesn’t mean I’m all better now. Sometimes I feel very ¬†misunderstood by doctors and it’s really hard to understand because they’re medical professionals and you would expect them to have at least done a psych rotation at medical school right?¬†

The other day mum was at the doctor and a couple of days before mum’s appointment I saw that doctor. Mum has her appointment and the doctor tells mum that I’m doing quite well and I look like I’m doing good; or something like that.¬†
Just because I have clean clothes on and I brushed my hair doesn’t mean that I’m not struggling every day. What do doctors expect a depressed person to look like? Do us depressed people just have to walk around in our pyjamas all day with knotted hair and not having washed for a month? Or do us depressed people not get out of bed ever? But then how are we meant to go to the medical professionals to get help? And if we stay in our pyjamas all day not caring about self hygiene or stay in bed all the time and we do go to the medical professionals for help, they say that we’re not helping ourselves and making ourselves worse by not getting dressed and brushing our hair! So really, it seems that we can’t win.¬†

A month ago I got into a really bad depressive slump and I was very suicidal and nearly ended up in the pysch hospital again. My mum called my psychologist because she was worried about me and didn’t know what to do and my psychologists answer was to take me out to lunch! Because when I’m feeling like killing myslef because I see no reason to live, the only thing I want to do is go to a busy place for lunch and hang around outside! No, what I actually want to do is take my medication that knocks me out and go to bed until I feel like I’m not going to harm myself. When my psychologist said that, I felt so… I don’t even know what emotion I felt! I honestly couldn’t believe she had said that.

You kind of lose faith in the medical system when people who are meant to help you say such unhelpful and ignorant stuff.  

¬†I feel like I have gotten very good at hiding how depressed and hopeless I am. I’ve had to implement my poker face since Chase died. No one I have ever met has seen through it and seen how much I am struggling. It’s so tiring being so strong all the time and keeping my sh*t together. I just want to stay in bed all day where it’s warm and I don’t have to worry about anything outside my bedroom. I don’t know who I am outside of being majorly depressed, anxious and chronically ill.
I go to my appointments and I get dressed and I have showers and brush my hair and brush my teeth and wash my face, I do all this stuff and just because I do it, it doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly not depressed and mentally stable.¬†

I am broken and I will never be whole again. There will always be a part of me missing that Chase took when he died. I will always be grieving and some days it will be too hard and I WILL stay in bed all day and cry.
Being strong is good but breaking down is also good. I can’t always be strong.

I don’t know what the doctors need to see that I am struggling. My anxiety and depression are overwhelming a lot of the time but I keep going because it’s the only choice I have. I’m so sick of doctors and their small minded ideas of mental illnesses.
If doctors want to see me when I’m at my lowest then come on over to my house and watch me cry myself to sleep and cry so hard I start hyperventilation or I cry so hard that I feel like I’m going to throw up or see the look on my face when I think about everything I struggle with every day or the nosies I make because I’m so sad and I just want to die. If they want to see that to prove to them that I am in fact not doing well and depressed then they can.
I keep myself together so I can help mum because she can’t lose another child. I am struggling and I just want people to see that and acknowledge that and not assume that because I’m smiling or laughing I’m not dying inside. All I want is to be understood.

Behind my mask I am struggling everyday and I am trying to be the strongest that I can be.   

Keep safe,
Maddy xoxo 

Feel free to follow me on twitter!

 

 

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Depression, Family, Mother and daughter

The Real Life Gilmore Girls

Mum and I are like the real life Gilmore Girls. Mum and I are incredibly close and she is my best friend; I honestly wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I didn’t have mum in my life and she wasn’t my mum.

Like I said before she is my best friend but also my sister, father, aunt, grandma, daughter and all round the greatest person ever.
Although mum is a lot like Lorelai I don’t think I’m that much like Rory because to be honest I think Rory is rude, spoilt, selfish and not very respective to her mum.

I love my mum more than anything on this earth. She is the most resilient, strong, loyal, caring, smart, beautiful, loving, empathetic, compassionate, generous, funny, witty, angelic, kind, ambitious, amusing, brave, conscientious, courageous, easygoing, friendly, gentle, helpful, and honest person I know and will ever meet.
Mum has been through so much in her life and the fact that she is still living and this amazing after all that she’s been through is astounding. She really is my role model and inspiration.

Mum and I have always gotten along, we don’t really fight about anything and if we do we get over it pretty quickly.
When we were living at Michael’s we were close but definitely¬†not as close as we are now. ¬†We couldn’t be as close as we are now because Michael was such a jealous freak and would try to come between us all the time. I think the trauma that we’ve gone through has definitely made us closer.

Mum and I have a lot of mutual respect for each other and we’re equals so I think that’s partly why we get along so well. Don’t get me wrong, ¬†I listen to her when she tells me ‘off’ but from day to day we’re equals. The other reasons we get along so well is because we also have a lot of¬†love, loyalty and honesty towards each other.¬†Mum respects me as a person and my decisions and I respect her as a person and her decisions.

Mum and I have an incredibly special bond, it’s a bond like no other. She is one of my soul mates and I am thankful every day that I get to spend my whole life with her.
Mum and I have so many laughs because we have a similar sense of humour so we laugh at things that are pretty inappropriate and that others wouldn’t find funnyūüėā.

My mum is my rock and I know she will always be there for me and I will always be there for her. We have supported each other throughout these 4 years of hardship and there is no way I could have gotten through it without my Mumma Bear.

Mum is a cool mum, she’s the type of mum that all your friends love because she gives great advice and is more like part of the group than the adult of that friend.

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Here’s the letter I wrote to her a few posts ago:
https://depresssedmesswithanxietyandgrief.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/a-letter-to-my-mumma-bear/

I don’t think there is much else I can say about our relationship except that it’s incredibly special and no one will ever be able to come between us and the friendship that we have.

Love you Mum!!!

Keep safe everyone and I hope that you have your own Lorelai in your life.
Maddy xoxo

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Feel free to follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Its_me_MaddyO

 

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Death, Depression, Family, Grief, Step-father

What happens after (Part II)

This post is a little traumatic when talking about my brother, proceed with caution.

So we’ve covered the horrible step-father, getting kicked out of home and the plethora of health conditions, now we’re going to cover my brother dying and then write about my anxiety, depression and my suicidality in part 3.

My brother dying:

I was at the pain clinic for the day getting all my assessments done and I was talking to the psychologist and she asked me if my brother dying was a shock to me and I just thought what a stupid question that was to ask. No, I totally knew Chase was going to die and it wasn’t a shock at all (include heavy sarcasm when reading that). Like seriously? Who even asks that?! Of course it was a shock!¬†The psychologist also asked me to explain what it was like Chase dying, it was not only a shock but a heart breaking experience that I will never ever be able to articulate and understand. I will never be able to explain how it was¬†to watch Chase loose all his motor functions and the ability to walk, talk, eat and eventually breathe. I will never be able to explain what it felt like when I literally saw him take his last breath or what it was like to see his little blue coffin with superheroes all over it get lowered into the ground. Or how he looked before we nailed the coffin shut. Those memories will haunt me for as long as I will live. So yes psychologist lady, it was a complete shock when Chase died.

On May 31st it will be 4 years since Chase died and I still haven’t fully come to understand what that means. I’ve mentioned Chase before and a few memories but I thought that I will write down the whole experience in this post.

Here it goes:

It was a Thursday evening at home and Mum had noticed that one side of Chase’s face seemed to droop a little bit. She then asked him to do some pushups and he couldn’t do them (he always could, he was a strong little man) and when he stood up he was all dizzy and nearly fell over. This was not normal behaviour and now we were all a bit worried. The next day (Friday) Mum took him to the Royal Children’s Hospital to get him checked out. She was there all day and all night. When I got home from school on Friday Michael had to go into the hospital because Mum called him telling him that a neurologist and oncologist wanted to talk to them because they had found something on Chase’s MRI. Michael drove us all in (Michael, Dusty and me) into the hospital and we met Micahel’s brother Paul there. Michael left us with Paul and went to go find Mum.
I didn’t know what was happening and what was wrong wth Chase or that Mum and Michael had to have a meeting with the oncologist and neurologist, I learnt this later on when Mum told me. Paul took us (Dusty and me) to McDonalds and then to get ice-cream at the Docklands. Paul wouldn’t tell me anything that was happening and after the ice-cream he drove us home. I had to go into the Royal Children’s the next day (Saturday) for an MRI of my shoulder. Paul drove us in that morning and we met Mum in Chase’s room. I still didn’t know what was wrong. Mum was crying and Chase was just sitting on the bed playing with one of his toys. I got the MRI of my shoulder done and I drove home with Mum and Chase. In the car when Chase was sleeping I asked Mum what was wrong and she started crying again, I asked if Chase needed brain surgery and she said no. She then said to me “Maddy, Chase is VERY sick.” I then started crying also and asked if he has cancer, Mum said yes and then I yelled out “NO” and told her that I thought she was lying. Mum said she was sorry and that she would tell me everything tonight. We went home and Chase wanted muffins so I made him some muffins. That night when he was asleep Mum told me that Chase had Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and that it was terminal and that he didn’t have much longer to live.

My aunty drove up from her farm Sunday and we had all our family come over. I took Monday and Tuesday off school. On Tuesday Mum and Michael went back to the hospital to talk to some more doctors about what could be done. Basically nothing, Chase could’ve had radiation and chemo but it would’ve been for every day for 6 weeks and it would’ve only made him sicker and not actually help anything and even if it did shrink the tumour a little bit and give him another few months he would’ve spent those months in hospital incredibly sick from the chemo and radiation. So Mum and Michael decided against doing any of that and took him home: plus Chase hated hospitals.
I went back to school on Wednesday and got the school counsellor there to tell my home group and teachers what was happening. We didn’t tell Chase what was happening, he was only 5 but he was so clever and smart that he knew what was going to happen to him anyway. He started asking Mum questions about death and what happens after you die which was weird because he had never asked those questions before and he was only 5 and what 5 year old asks about that stuff?

We had an early Christmas and birthday because we didn’t know if he was going to make it past his birthday and to Christmas. The ¬†Make A Wish foundation funded the birthday party for Chase. They hired a limo, had people dress up as superheroes, rented out Ace Space, got a birthday cake made and presents donated. They did a great job and I thank Make A Wish for everything that they did.

Chase started deteriorating pretty rapidly; from diagnosis date to the day he died it was 12 weeks. March 8th to May 31st. Chase lost the ability to walk so he had to be carried everywhere and then the ability to talk, swallow properly and then to breath.

I was still having to go to school and do all that, that was because of Michael. If I had it my way I would’ve been at home with my brother who was going to die and spending as much time with him as I could.
Chase only really wanted Mum throughout the whole thing. She was amazing and I will never know how she did it. She literally became an angel and looked after Chase with so much love and support. My heart aches for her when thinking about everything she went through.
With Chase only wanting mum it was hard for me to spend any time with him. I did teach him to play crocodile crocodile though and that was nice. I don’t resent Mum or Chase for that, but it does hurt that I wasn’t able to spend as much time with him as I would’ve liked…

Now to the hardest part, the day he died:

It was a Thursday and I got up to go to school. Chase wasn’t awake when I left so I don’t even remember what the last thing was that I said to him or did with him was.
I came home from school and the palliative nursers and doctors had come during the day when I was at school. When I got home from school Chase was in his bed with a whole lot of needles in him for the medications they put him on (pain meds and stuff like that). I knew then that he wasn’t going to be around for much longer, I just didn’t know he was going to die a few hours later. The offical date and time that he died was Friday, May 31st 2013 at 12:12am.
At around 6pm on Thursday his breathing started to change and mum rang the palliative care team. They listened to it over the phone and told us that it won’t be much longer, I sat on his bed for most of the night holding his hand while mum was laying next to him. I also took a lot of pictures because I knew this was the last time that I would be able to. Chase was unconscious the whole time.
Mum stayed with him in bed while Michael, Dusty, Mum’s friend Anna, Dusty’s grandparents and me watched a movie in the lounge room. It wasn’t my choice to do that but anyways…
At 12:10 am (Friday morning) Mum yelled out Michael’s name and we all went running down to Chase’s room. Chase had died in Mum’s arms. We all stood there crying and watching him. He then he took a breath; the hope that I felt in that moment was like nothing I will ever feel again. I can’t even explain it, but then he breathed out and didn’t breath again, that was at 12:12am.
I literally saw my brother take his last breath. I can’t tell you what happened after that as I don’t really remember. I do remember Mum and Michael washed him and put him in new clothes but I don’t remember much else. I do remember that I finally went to bed at 4am and when I woke at 8am, Anna and I went and drove to pick Holly up (she was living in a share house somewhere). At 4pm, my friend Casey came over and she spent some time with me while her mum spent time with my Mum.

Mum and Michael decided to do the funeral themselves and not take Chase to a funeral home as they’re evil and don’t take care with people’s loved and departed ones. They hired a mobile fridge that was plugged in in the carport and put him in his little coffin and that’s where he stayed until Wednesday June 5th, 2013 when we buried him.

There were a lot of people at Chase’s funeral. It was no where near a ‘celebration of his life’. It was depressing, sad and tragic that we were having to bury our 5 year old son and brother. Mum wrote his eulogy and the funeral speaker lady read it out. I wrote a poem and I read that out myself.

Here it is:

Our lives go on without you Chase but nothing is the same.
Our broken hearts are opened wide when someone speaks your name.
I don’t know how we’re going to live a life that you’re not in and never again hear those superhero songs you loved to sing.
You’ll always be my baby brother that I kissed and held so tight and that is what I think about in the coldness of the night.
I love you Chase

After that was done we carried his coffin over to his grave and lowered him in, we then each got a handful of dirt and threw it on. There was a wake afterwards at the pub, we went to that and at around 4 I got a lift home from my neighbours. The next Monday, Michael made me go to school and we were made to continue with life as if nothing had happened and that we didn’t just watch Chase die and bury him. I still can’t believe Michael was able to start again that soon afterwards.
I had a really hard time at school with friends and classes. I spent a lot of my time in the Wellbeing Centre crying and trying to figure how I was meant to go on with life without my baby brother next to me.

I love Chase so much and he was my best friend. He was the sibling I connected with and got along with the most. He was my personal superhero and I miss him every single day. I think about him every day and every day I wish he was still here with me. Chase shouldn’t have died, he should still be here growing up and living and experiencing everything life has to offer. He would be 9 now if he was still alive and in primary school probably being the smartest kid in his class. He was so smart, loving, caring and such a beautiful soul. He was so wise and everybody who met him felt like they had encountered something special. Chase was everything and he was taken away by cancer. I still ask so many questions to myself and to my counsellors about why he died and why it was him and I will never get the answers that I’m looking for. I will never know why he died or why it was him. Chase left a big hole in my heart that will never be filled and I will continue to miss him and love him and cherish the memories I do have with him.

Chase will forever live in our hearts and he will never be forgotten. 

My psychologist gave me a quote when I first started seeing her from Jon Kabat-Zinn and that quote was: You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
I honestly think that that quote covers grief. Grief does come in waves and I am learning to surf those waves and to try not to let them drown me. Grief is so incredibly complex and no one can compare you for what it feels like. 

I love you Chase. 

Keep surfing everyone,
Maddy xoxo 

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Abuse, Body image, Chronic health condition, Death, Depression, Exhausted, Family, Grief, Step-father, Tired

What happens after (Part 1)

What happens after you have a horrible step-father, your brother dies, you’re kicked out of your home, you get a plethora of health conditions, you become incredibly depressed, you become suicidal and you have such bad anxiety that some days you can’t even look out the windows or leave the house because of how anxious you feel? What happens after all that? Well, it changes you in ways you didn’t know even existed and you learn to live with everything as sad as it sounds. How I’ve felt for the past 4 years has become my normal and that’s so depressing because my new normal is sh**! The only good thing I still have is my mum, that’s all. One person keeping me here on earth.¬†

I think I’ll talk about each issue separately starting with Michael:

A week after Chase died I was forced back to school by my horrible step-father, he went to work and my poor mum was left at home to deal with the silence and horrendous memories of the house alone. We were all forced to go back to normal by Michael (horrible¬†step-father) but how were we meant to go bak to normal when our normal had changed so drastically and completely in 12 weeks? I don’t understand how he was able to get up and go to work so soon after! Like what?! Who does that?¬†Michael also thought that two weeks after we buried my brother he would talk to me about how I’ve put on a little bit of weight and how I need to loose that and be more active outside. Yeah thanks Michael, that really helped. Psychotic asshole.¬†

¬†Michael was what you didn’t want in a father or step-father. He was angry, mean, cruel, hurtful, cold, selfish, fake, narcissistic, jealous, abusive and the biggest asshole to walk this planet. He was so mean and cruel to me for no reason. He used to tell me that I was fat and lazy and that I will end up smoking bongs on the couch doing noting with my life. After dinner when I would wash the dishes he would just sit in his spot at the head of the table and glare at me for no reason. I could feel him staring at me and judging me and sending his hate towards me while I was cleaning the pots and pans. He used to also lock me outside after I got home from school because he wanted me to spend more time outside and my mum couldn’t do anything because if she spoke up he would punish the rest of us and not give us money for food or firewood for the heater or water for the water tank and then mum, my brothers and I would all have to suffer at the hands of his anger. Mum stood up for me when he really crossed the line but in the end I learnt how to keep out of his way and stay away from him. When he wasn’t home after I would come home from school that was when mum and I caught up but as soon as I heard his truck or car come up the driveway I would run up to my room and not come back down until dinner time.¬†
I didn’t have much of a social life because all of my friend were scared and didn’t¬†like Michael, they didn’t want to come over and talk or see him and I don’t blame them, I didn’t want to be there either. I would often think¬†about running away but then where would I go? And leave mum there alone? I don’t think so plus I had no where to go.¬†

Michael started being mean to me at around the age of 10 as I was getting my own thoughts and feelings towards people and individuating into my own person. He didn’t like that I started seeing him as he was and not as the perfect do no wrong step-father I always thought he was. When I turned a little older that’s when the real glaring, judgement and negative comments would come.
When he and mum were fighting he would all of a sudden be nice to me and pay an interest in my stuff but that would only last until mum sucked up and apologise to him. Once they were back together and ‘all good’ again he would go back to not paying any interest in me and my school stuff and ignore my reports that I would want to show him because I got A’s and I was proud of that.¬†

Michael thought he knew everything about everything when in fact he knew very little. I understand that because he was raised by not very warm and loving parents and he grew up the hard way moulds him into who he is today but I don’t understand why he then has to teach his kids and treat his kids how he was treated. He never loved me, he saw me as a nuisance and a road block in the way of what he really wanted which was mum. When we used to go out as ‘one big happy family’ Michael would literally push me out of the way if I was walking next to mum because he wanted to walk next to her instead; how petty is that? I’m just a kid wanting to walk next to her mum and Michael the big bully has to come and push me out of the way. In the end it got very hard not to show my hatred towards him, it got harder everyday not to snap and tell him how much I hated him but in reality that would never happen because I was scared of him. He was a big, tall, angry, scary and a violent man. I never stood a chance.¬†

I don’t and never will blame or resent mum for staying with Michael for so long. I understand that she had no money of her own and no place to go or support, she also had Dusty (my other brother) and Chase to think about. We were stuck. All of us were abused by Michael and it has affected me in so many ways. Nearly every night I have a nightmare with Michael in it, if I hear a car that sounds like his I get anxiety and have to stop from having a panic attack and now I have such bad self esteem and body issues because of him and what he used to say to me that I loathe myself. I can’t look in the mirror without hating what I see. He used to also call me lazy all the time so now when I’m too tired to do anything because of my chronic fatigue instead of understanding that I have an illness and I’m unwell I just think of myself as lazy which means mum spends a lot of time reassuring me and reminding me that I’m not lazy and that I’m unwell with a medical condition and valid reasons for sitting on the couch watching TV.¬†

I often watch movies where the girl has the perfect dad who loves and cares for her and so wish that I could have what she has. I know that a lot of girls don’t have a dad like that but I still can’t help but wish that I had a dad who would do anything for them and who builds them up instead of smashing them down. Michael was a horrid man and I will always have to go through life with the damage that he’s caused to me and my body; mental and physical. I never want to see Michael or talk to him again, he contributed to my brokenness. One day I might be able to forgive him but that’s not right now.
I try, I really do but it’s so hard when I still think and am reminded about everything he did. It also doesn’t help that when Dusty comes over he’s a¬†constant reminder by the way he acts and what he says, he’s exactly like Michael. Dusty has no respect for me and thinks I’m fat and lazy just like Michael does.¬†

Getting kicked out of home with nothing but a few boxes of my clothes:

It was a Thursday night and mum and Michael had been fighting for quite a while. Mum had cooked us all dinner but Michael wasn’t home; he came home after dinner had been served and we had cleaned up. Dusty was still eating his though and he wanted some more cheese but we didn’t have any as we had used it for our dinner. Michael went and warmed up his dinner and Dusty asked for some more cheese, Michael went to the fridge to get some out but as there wasn’t any left he started slamming things and yelling at mum about there not being any cheese. Mum went down to her room and Michael sat down to eat his dinner a few minutes later Micahel got up and stormed down the hallway to their room where mum was. He slammed the door and started yelling at her. Mum started yelling out that Michael was hurting her and to let her go and to stop touching her, I eventually went down do their room (I had NEVER interrupted their fights before, I usually go to my room) and opened the bedroom door and screamed at Michael to let her go. He had mum by the wrists and was screaming angry words and threats right in her face.¬†He looked like a mad man and when I walked in. He let her go and told mum that she needs to get out of the house and that he’ll give her 6 hours to move out tomorrow (so Friday) after he had physically assaulted mum and told her to get us out he turned around and yelled at me right in my face to get the hell out of his way; he didn’t say it in exactly those words though. I honestly thought he was going to physically hurt me too. After had he had finished yelling at us and being physical with mum he went down and ate his dinner. Yes that’s right, after all that anger and getting physical with mum and went back to the dinner table and ate his dinner like nothing had happened, what a psycho. Who does that? Who can physically assault his wife and demand that she moves out of ‘his house’ and then go and eat dinner like nothing had happened in the past half an hour? A psychopath that’s who. After he finished dinner he went outside and got the boxes from storage and gave them to mum and told her to pack up her sh** and then he left again. Mum and I started to pack Chase’s room first, taking the most sentimental stuff like his clothes and toys and a few of his funeral programmes. After Chase’s room I went up and threw all of my clothes into boxes not taking notice of what I took and what I left. I left so many of my things behind, I literally only took my clothes. On Friday I took the day off school and mum and I moved our boxes to mum’s little investment house in the town over. The house was incredibly small with only one bedroom, no heater, no water, no gas, no firewood and no cooling; not that we needed cooling as it was the middle of winter! Mum and I had managed to move all our clothes and stuff within the 6 hours that Michael gave us to move out.

The hardest part of getting kicked out¬†was leaving Chase’s room and everything in there. Chase’s room was where I could go and cry and miss him without the judgment of Michael. Living in that little house was incredibly hard when there was 3 people living in a one bedroom house. Dusty and I slept on mattresses that were given to us by friends on the floor in the bedroom meanwhile mum slept on a mattress in the lounge room.¬†
There was no privacy at that house and no place where I could go and break down and let out all the feelings I had abut what had happened and Michael. We got through it though and after mum borrowed quite a lot of money off one of her friends we were able to get out of that tiny house and move into a normal size house where I had my own bedroom and bathroom and mum had her own bedroom and bathroom. Plus it had heating and cooling which was great! My anxiety was just starting out but it wasn’t that bad that I couldn’t go to school or leave the house. My depression also wasn’t bad either, it was¬†a year¬†after Chase had died so I was still in the numb, processing stage and hadn’t completely gotten the fact that my brother had died.

Health conditions (Gastroparesis, chronic fatigue syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction):

My health conditions mostly started after we moved into the normal house. That’s when the extreme bloating, pain, fatigue and other yucky symptoms started to happen. It’s also when my anxiety became severe and so did my depression and I ended up leaving¬†my¬†mainstream school and enrolling into Distance Education. I’ll talk about my anxiety and depression more in part 2 of ‘What happens after’¬†but for now I’ll talk about all the stomach issues and fatigue.¬†

After I had left my school and started Distance Education I’d wake up every day looking 7 months pregnant and in a lot of pain. I would also sleep for 15 hours a day and be fatigued for the rest of the hours I was awake. I made trips to the emergency room quite a few times because of my bloating and pain and also because I would have blood in my poo (TMI I know, but that’s part of my life and this is a blog about my life so…) which isn’t normal. I would always get sent home from the hospital and told that I was fine and to take over the counter pain relief; it didn’t help with all the other symptoms, it helped with the pain a little but but that’s it. I got referred to see a gastroenterologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital and he booked me in for a colonoscopy and endoscopy. As I had thought they didn’t find anything and he told me to go home and to come back in a few months. Well, I wasn’t happy with that so I went and saw a paediatrician who told me I have chronic fatigue syndrome and associated POTS but my bowel issues and bloating was because I was overweight and that I just had to lose the weight and I’d be fine. Yeah thanks. Mum and I were relieved that we finally had an answer as to why I was so tired all the time and got exhausted walking from my bedroom to the lounge room, but as my stomach issues persisted and I still had pain, bloating and blood in my poo we went and got a referral from my GP to go see a different gastroenterologist privately. My new gastroenterologist has been great up until now as there’s not much more he can do for me unfortunately.¬†

When I went in for my first appointment he took me very seriously and listened to everything I had to say and told me that he thinks that I have Ulcerative Colitis, he put me on steroids and booked me into hospital to have another colonoscopy done and to get an MRI. Well, I went on the steroids and got the unfortunate side effects from them (extreme hunger, mood swings, moon face ect) and then went into hospital for what turned out to be a week long stay. I had to do a 3 day flush out which meant I couldn’t eat anything solid for three days and had to take a number of disgusting laxatives. If you’re reading this and you’ve had to have a colonoscopy before then you know what I mean when I say the actual flushout stuff¬†is the most disgusting thing in this world. Anyway, I did the colonoscopy and they didn’t find anything (typical) so I was taken off the steroids and then had to have an MRI done of my whole digestive system; that was super uncomfortable as I had to lay on my stomach for an hour. Once again they didn’t find anything abnormal and I was told I just have sever IBS and I was sent home and to get another follow up appointment with my gastroenterologist. We went back to him and he told me because I’m so constipated I have to do a flush out once EVERY MONTH! Nooooo¬†ūüė©ūüė∑ So I continued doing that and as nothing was improving, I was still bloated, in pain and constipated¬†he¬†told me that I needed to go get a gastric emptying study done (http://www.medicinenet.com/gastric_emptying_study/article.htm). So I went and did that and FINALLY something came back abnormal and we got some answers. It turns out I have something called Gastroparesis. This pretty much means that my stomach is a little bit paralysed and doesn’t empty food as quickly as a normal stomach does. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that I finally had some answers! So the end diagnosis¬†with my stomach is sever IBS and Gastroparesis. My gastroenterologist has put me on a medication called Motilium which has really helped; I can now eat without getting a severe stomach ache and severe nausea which is nice. I still get pain, I’m still bloated and I still get constipated but now I know why.¬†
The cause of my constipation isn’t just from my gastroparesis and IBS though, it turns out I also have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. The problem with my pelvic floor is that it’s always tight and doesn’t relax and let go. You know when you do your kegel exercises and you can squeeze in and then relax again, well my pelvic floor doesn’t relax when I let go.¬†This¬†means that it’s hard for my poo to come out and it also means I can rarely use a tampon when I get my period. I have exercises I do but otherwise there’s not much else I can do at the moment.¬†
I’ve talked about my Chronic Fatigue before so I won’t go into that again…¬†https://depresssedmesswithanxietyandgrief.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/living-life-in-the-slooooooow-lane/

Alright peeps, this is a really long post so I’ll leave it here and I’ll upload part 2 next week. Stay safe.¬†

Maddy xoxo 

PS- Go check out a singer called Agnes Obel if you don’t know her already. She has some beautiful songs.¬†

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