Claire’s Update

Love this!

I am now past my one year sobriety milestone and life is ticking on. This past few weeks has been a little like wading through mud. Various challenges keep cropping up and with the back drop of Covid and lockdown it’s an uphill struggle some days.

My situation at work is dragging on and on and on. We cannot seem to reach an agreement on the pay for the additional role I have taken on. Usually it would be a consultant/medic who has the role and I have seriously upset the apple cart being a mere allied health professional (AHP). They have tried to offer me less than half of what would be offered to a consultant doing the same job with the same responsibilities because, and this is a direct quote, as a ‘non-medic’ I come with a ‘different skill set’. Damn right I do! Arguably a more holistic set of skills with significant expertise in the area of communication. I am a speech and language therapist, communication is my ‘thing’. Anyway, I have not accepted this offer and after a lot of back and forth we are now going to put the job description through a formal banding process. Which I have to say, has its own issues. It’s just all bureaucratic nonsense really and they have stalled and delayed. I am the first non-medic to take on a leadership role for a surgical team. They don’t want to open a whole can of worms where other allied health professionals start to demand equal pay. It’s all a little corrupt and dishonest and quite frankly I’m at the point of walking away. My colleagues, the patients and their families are the thing that keep me going but boy, it’s bloody exhausting.

On the home front, we have been having some serious teenage struggles with my 16 year old. The Xbox, particularly when playing FIFA, triggers such rage and anger it’s scary. It has scared him too. The other week he punched a hole in a door and made his knuckles bleed. With his right hand I might add. The one that has only just come out of plaster after breaking his wrist. Numpty. He also swore at his Dad and I. Think of the worst, crudest swear word you can direct at someone …. he used it. He has now, along with a hole in the door, broken two TVs, 4 Xbox controllers, 1 TV controller and damaged his bedroom walls on three occasions. I would like to say I remained calm and reasonable during the last exchange but I didn’t. I screamed and shouted back at him, which was not helpful I know. In my defence, I am completely sick of him trashing my house because of a stupid video game. He does pay to replace the things but that’s meaningless to him. It comes out of an account where he stashes birthday and Christmas money and it has no value. He is generally a kind, loving young man and after we all calmed down talked it all through. He had a week off the console. We haven’t replaced the TV. He has to play downstairs now, which means sharing the time available with me as it’s the room in which I work. He has, so far, remained calm and he is reducing the time spent playing FIFA. Let’s hope we have turned a corner.

What next? Christmas arrangements with the recent UK rules. Trying to please everyone. People feeling offended. My brother stressing about how to manage it all and Mum in tears. My Mum is also having surgery to remove skin cancer tomorrow and is understandably very anxious about life in general. I did have to listen to her moan and groan about me the other day. She hadn’t realised I’d picked up the phone and she was listing all my faults to my Dad. That also ended in tears (not mine!). In the end, it has been decided my husband, the boys and I will not see anyone within the five day Christmas window the government have allowed. It was becoming far too complicated with the ‘bubble of three families’ and frankly I just don’t see the point on risking my parents’ health or my eldest missing his mock GCSE exams in January for one or two days. So we are set for an extremely quiet Christmas, just the four of us. We can got for walks with family and my in-laws live 2 hrs drive away so it would be tricky to see them anyway. I am noticing how fed up and low people are now feeling. Lots of them struggling with this restrictive way of life. I had conversations with many people last week, upset and tearful about the new Tier system and arrangements for the Christmas period. The area I live in will move into Tier 3 restrictions once ‘lockdown’ ends on Wednesday. There will be little change to what we are currently allowed to do. It is ground hog day for sure. Vaccines are around the corner and as a patient facing member of the health service it would appear I will be the first to be offered one. I will have it but I’m not going to lie, I am nervous about it. I am also anxious about my children having it if they are offered. The unknown long term impact concerns me. That said, the long term impact of contracting Covid is very real and there is also a lot still unknown. It’s the right thing to do, to protect myself, my family and stop the spread of the virus. It’s just hard to shake off the anxiety.

So, lots of things happening and challenges to deal with. On a positive note, I am loving my bike. I’m slowly building confidence and though turning left is tricky as I can’t signal without veering into the curb, I am now able to pick up some speed without permanently squeezing the brakes! I’m practicing yoga daily and I totally love it. I don’t know what it is I love about it but I just do. I also went for a run last Monday which is the first in months. It felt great. I’m reading more and I have started a jigsaw. My cross stitch is coming on. It might be finished in time to give to the little girl at Christmas. It was supposed to be for her Christening gift last February. Ah well, better late than never.

Although some days I feel overwhelmed with life’s challenges, overall my mental health has been stable. I haven’t descended into periods of not being able to face the world or had days when I just can’t let go of what is bothering me. There have been disappointments, frustrations and tempers flaring but I can still breathe and continue on. I have been bored on occasions but interestingly boredom doesn’t fill me with anxiety anymore. I haven’t at any point been tempted to drink. I rarely have AF drinks either. A cup of tea provides me with the ‘and relax’ feeling I used to seek from booze. I have many dreams and hopes for 2021 and the future. All in all, I think I’m doing ok.

Claire x

45 thoughts on “Claire’s Update”

  1. This was such a lovely read … by that I don’t mean I enjoyed reading about your struggles, but what I loved was your honesty about everything. The work situation sounds incredibly frustrating. Dealing with these organisations is enough to sometimes feel it would be easier just to walk away. Your son and the computer games … yup, it’s tricky. Thank goodness he’s of an age whereby you can talk to him, show him how the games alter his behaviour, know that he understands that you love him, just not some of the behaviour. I get it. Christmas, yup, well as I sit here in Manhattan on a beautiful Sunday morning with the sun shining and looking down onto the Hudson River, I realise that you can be in the most incredible places but all that really matters is being with ones children … family. I miss mine dreadfully. Let’s just keep our fingers firmly crossed that this nightmare ends soon. Lovely post and sending you best wishes. Katie

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    1. Hey Katie. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my (very looong) post. Wow, we visited Manhattan and New York a couple of years back and loved it. I’m sorry you miss your family and I’m hoping you get to see them very soon xxx

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  2. Sorry the “externals” aren’t playing nice and all trying to grab your attention. Keep grounded within with yoga, running, and your new Bike😀 and a path out of the storm will appear.

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    1. I’m trying to stay grounded and definitely more successful than I was. Just been for a five mile run and did half hr of yoga so I feel pretty good right now. Thanks for the lovely comment my friend xx

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    1. Honestly Ashley, I am becoming so exasperated with it, the easiest solution would be to resign from that specific role and continue with my main job (which is also under paid compared to exactly the same roles nationally) but then I feel like they have got what they want and I’ve allowed the ‘old school’ to win. But I didn’t really want to be a trail blazer, I just wanted it to be a fair process.

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  3. An incredible post Claire, so open and enlightening, Teens are difficult my son was similar and still is at 34 lol, but we removed the console when his behaviour was inappropriate, we all have to fight different battles (make up was one with the daughter) with our children. The job situation sucks, but what I find most uplifting is your attention to self care, yoga, running, cycling I don’t know how you do it, it’s the area I struggle with xxxx

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    1. I get so much from it and I know I start to struggle if I let it slide. Thanks for your lovely comment. I do find the teenage battles tough going but there are such lovely times too! ❤️

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  4. Thanks for such a thorough update, Claire! I’m always so happy to read what you are up to. I’m so glad you are holding out for what you deserve at work. And the video game thing, how crazy-making it must be! Hopefully, the changes you have made will help. Just my 2 cents, but Christmas thing sounds like the right decision to me. Otherwise, someone will feel left out and you will probably feel stressed. This way sounds way more relaxing. And I’m also worried about the new technology being used for the vaccines. Unintended consequences and all… but, you’re right, we probably just need to do it anyway. 😘

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    1. I’m actually quite relieved about Christmas. I am not really a fan of all the driving about, trying to fit everyone in and loads of people gathering. I find the thought of it all quite stressful. This has taken away any of that ‘negotiation’ and now I can just focus on making it a special day for just the four of us. I’m actually excited about that. It feels manageable and fun. The vaccines thing is difficult to navigate. Heart vs head and all that xxxx

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  5. Hi Claire I think your post wonderfully summed up how so many of us are feeling with the pandemic. Just such a heavy layer of extra anxiety, isolation, fatigue at the whole thing. An extra layer of sadness around the holidays. I have been trying to focus on creative ways to make it special even though it will be so different this year. It takes extra energy for sure. And it sounds like much of yours is being sucked by your job, I’m sorry that sounds so shit, but good for you carrying on for the sake of fairness and getting the $ you deserve!

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    1. Hey. I know. I think it definitely is colouring everything right now and can feel hard to keep going. I too am trying to find ways to make the Christmas period special … it might be quiet but we can still create some lovely lasting memories. Work is getting me down for sure but I am practising all my ‘let go of what I can’t control’ skills!! How are you doing? Xx

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  6. I’m sorry your son is struggling. My daughter has severe anxiety and for a while it came out as anger. It is pretty common, of scary.
    Has he seen a counsellor? Life is pretty unsettled for kids. I’m not sure they even realize how stressed they are.
    My son is a gamer. He got the Ps5 last week and I haven’t seen much of him.

    We are planning a low key at home Christmas. Canada is a gong show and I expect more restrictions any day.

    Hug
    Take care!

    Anne

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    1. Yes. We are thinking of counselling. He’s willing to give it a try. I agree, I do think it’s linked to stress. It’s been tricky for his year with exams looming and not knowing what’s happening. Certain games trigger the anger reaction though so we are managing that right now. Christmas will be quiet but hopeful still special in some way for us all.
      Hugs to you too xx

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  7. Hi Claire! Lovely to read your update! Sorry about all your going through with your son. Hopefully your current changes will help some! Work sounds very frustrating! With COVID here now on the rise again I feel some of my clients may want to take a break. While that sounds so nice to me, it sure doesn’t help pay the bills. It will be just us and the kids Christmas here as well. I am kind of looking forward to it but feel bad for my parents who love get togethers. My mom has COPD so dad is keeping her home for the most part in hopes to avoid her catching COVID. Awesome on you enjoying your bike and yoga! I haven’t done yoga on a regular basis yet. Anywho, I sure hope you are having a great day dear!!

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  8. wowowow Claire, sounds like you are doing great. Everything you wrote sounds so wise and mature, and like you have some solid emotional foundations with which to weather (is that the right verb?) the storms life has thrown at us this year. (I’m sorry about your son and FIFA, I hope he manages to calm down as his adolescence comes to an end and his adulthood comes on in full bloom). I’m so glad you’re enjoying the biking. I remember I also felt nervous signaling left and would (stupidly) try to avoid taking left turns, like, I would get onto the right sidewalk then wait at the pedestrian traffic light to cross the street and “turn left” as a person walking next to their bike ^^… so silly. xxx Anne

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    1. It’s a weird one the left turning thing. Balancing with just my right hand one the handle bars seems to throw my balance way off. It’s not as bad when I signal with the right hand. 🤷‍♀️
      Hope you are ok? Any updates from the world of dating? Xxx

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  9. i am finally catching up on WP here and reading through the posts. In fact have been online here for a few hours actually reading, not skimming. I love the posts so far. There’s so so so much to be said right now and considered in general ( life and the world). Yeah , that job sounds frustrating, as well as the issue with your son. I feel you. Mine is often the same. But sounds like you are navigating it all “like a boss”! And even though i can empathize, i also know i cannot completely feel all of your frustrations. Yoga= awesome, riding the bike= awesome…kudos and hugs…keep on keepin’ on!

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    1. Hey you. How are you doing? I sometimes take time out to really read through posts fully and thoroughly because I think it’s important to give them that time. I don’t comment until I have read a post properly. Yep, I’m getting through life’s daily challenges. Learning more about myself each day. Tonight I feel cross and I don’t know why so instead of picking a fight I’m going to take a bath and read. That’s progress 😂😂

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  10. Claire, it feels as if the whole world has gone mad and nothing makes sense anymore! I’m glad you’re hanging in there and wading through it all, with the rest of us. I’m sorry you’re having some trouble with your son. Teenagers. So many hormones raging and an undeveloped center of judgment in the brain lead to trouble for most. I’m with you. Thank you for the update. Keep being your amazing, lovely, caring self! Love and light. Xx

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    1. Thanks Collette. I just read your response to my comment on your recent post and it really struck a chord. I am preparing to do some work on finding strategies to keep me in the present and less looking ahead and building expectations. I’m starting to peel back the layers and find out what is creating anxiety for me. Thanks for your comment. Xxx

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  11. Interesting post on many levels Claire. What came across most noticeably is how you are tackling life’s struggles and challenges head on and looking after yourself too in a way that Im guessing is very different to your drinking days. Great stuff. Keep cycling, yogaing and let’s hope it is indeed a great year coming up . X

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  12. Thank you Jim. I don’t always feel I am addressing things in the best way and I stop regret my actions sometimes but I’m learning and finding out what is unhelpful. The exercise does help keep me sane and calm I think. Xx

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  13. Love reading your update, ditto to so many things people commented above. How exciting to read how far you have come from year+ ago. You are hanging in there well given these times. I am very happy for you. xo

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      1. I am well. I started another try of going sober. Almost five weeks in, and doing okay. I won’t pretend I do not miss having a drink, but I do feel better not drinking. Not sure about starting a blog on word press, yet. I haven’t had the urge to write much, so we shall see what happens in the future with blogging. I do add to my current blog, but just tiny post, nothing to deep. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but for today, I am well.

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      2. That sounds good Lia. One day at a time, some days it’s one hour! 5 weeks in is fabulous and it’s worth sticking at it through Xmas … I felt amazing when I achieved that milestone!! I have tried to access your blog but with not much success. Good luck. Keep in touch. Xx

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  14. Wow, Claire- this was incredible to read. You sound amazingly solid in spite of all that is going on around you. I am so inspired by your strength. Don’t you let them slide on paying you what you’re worth! They’re lucky to have you! I do hope by now things have calmed in all areas for you. So happy to be back on here… maybe I’ll even get inspired to write more! 🙏

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    1. I hope you so write more Elizabeth. I don’t often post but it’s helpful sometimes. I think I’ll wrote one today in fact! Still battling some stuff and work is not resolved but I’ll keep going xx

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