That might sound dramatic but the picture below is a woe-is-me selfie from A&E one Monday morning after a night where my heart was beating so fast and so hard I thought I'd written my last blog post. Of course, I wasn't having a heart attack but the doctors told me I was in the right place. My normally spot-on blood pressure was through the roof and I wasn't hypochondrically dreaming about the palpitations, there were in fact, palpitations. Anyway the root cause of this was a combination of stress and anxiety.
If anyone ever asked me if I was stressed I don't think I'd say I was but that's how it works...it creeps up on you slowly. Commuting, working under pressure, balancing finances, childcare and life's daily traumas slowly tap, tap, tap away at us and if it's not managed, something has to give. None of this is exclusive to me, this is modern life, deal with it. Man up. It's true, but it needed dealing with and I didn't deal with it. The doctor earlier in the year told me I was the sort of soul who needed to proactively seek relaxation and persevere with it; just 'chilling out' wasn't a possibility in his opinion. I did download a hypnotherapy course and went to a hot yoga class (I know!) but alas it wasn't enough.
I spoke to my dad and he said he'd gone through a virtually identical period of time. Late thirties, young, energetic kids, financial pressures, chasing the dream, worrying about the Joneses and suddenly you're shaking like the proverbial defecating dog. Things are improving but it's a day by day process which involves trying, as the sign on my kitchen wall triumphantly advises, not to sweat the small stuff and a Yantra mat - a sort of medieval torture mat containing 8,821 plastic spikes which dig into your back and release the requisite endorphins for a decent kip.
And so at this time of year, we inevitably look towards the next and what it will bring. Firstly it'll arrive without a thirteen and whilst I'm not overly superstitious, I'm definitely placing some of the blame of feeling so rubbish on that number. I will be besting my one month off the booze achievement from this January and lasting until March 9th when I run the inaugural Surrey half marathon - the aim is also lose 20 pounds in an effort to run the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours...a feat I missed by 8 minutes in the Royal Parks half.
So, having indulged me for this long on a blog about my son and not my state of well being, I suppose I ought to mention Jake. All things cleft related seem okay but one of his gromits has fallen out and his hearing has got quite a lot worse. Well that's how it seems, it's amazing what he sometimes chooses to hear and chooses to ignore! Seems to be a hearing epidemic in Surrey as the next available appointment is in December...for a child's hearing? Dreadful from a normally brilliant local service.
He celebrated his fifth birthday on September 8th and the day after he started school. That means two things; firstly my first born seems to have grown up very fast and secondly, this blog is 5 and half years old. Seems mental to think about all the time that has passed since I started writing this at 4 in the morning the day after we had his cleft diagnosed. Along with all the intangible and wonderful a child brings and lives through over 5 years here's a quick list:
- 2 x cleft repair operations (1 lip, 1 palate)
- 3 x new jobs (me), 1 x new job (Mrs F)
- 1 x new kitchen, 1 x loft extension
- 1 x wall fallen over
- 3 x cars
- 1 x gromit insertion operation
- 5 x holidays to Spain
- 1 x second child
- 1 x holiday to Lanzerote
- 2 x holidays to Italy