Category Archives: self awareness

Night & Day

I wrote most of this post late last night and just couldn’t bring myself to publish it for some reason. I saved it and re-read it this morning. I added another paragraph or two and decided to put it out there. It’s therefore confused and a bit of a ramble, not dissimilar to my mind right now.

I have started so many posts tonight and then decided not to carry them on or just deleted them. Life is very muddled sometimes and it can be so difficult to get those thoughts down on paper (or blog in this case!).

There is no clarity tonight. I’m feeling disjointed and uneasy. Interestingly I can identify that much more easily now but that isn’t altogether helpful when I am in the centre of it. There is no distinct issue. I’m not in a bad mood and nothing has ‘gone wrong’. I simply feel at odds with myself.

I know I’m overthinking and mulling over the future. I understand that there will be times where the lovely feeling of calm and peace are disrupted. I realise I absolutely need to deal with my own personal dissonance. It’s just tricky when I can’t put a finger on the problem. I’ll try to get some things down here. Maybe it will help.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my marriage. About how, as a couple, we interact, engage and communicate after 20 plus years together. Is there still enough between us to keep us together as the boys grow up and inevitably away? I’m probably not the first person to have ever wondered or worried about this. I doubt I’ll be the last. What were we once like as a ‘new’ couple? Did we talk and giggle into the early hours, wanting to feel each other’s presence all through the night? I honestly can’t remember. That makes me sad. Those memories are gone.

I don’t want us to only be able to function by living almost separate lives. I would like to share interests and hobbies and for us to talk about those interests. I couldn’t think of anything more lonely than feeling alone in a relationship. Maybe at this stage in a marriage/partnership you have to reinvent yourself as a couple. Or maybe I should just accept and be content with how things are. Lower my expectations. That’s tricky when you aren’t even sure what your expectations are. I don’t know what I want or what I need. Plus, if I don’t even know, how can I communicate it to another person?

Then there’s work. I do love my job. It’s rewarding and motivating and I’m one of those lucky people who work with people I’d consider good friends. Am I going to do the same thing for the next 15-20 years? There isn’t really anywhere I can progress to now. I can sense the time approaching where I need something new to challenge me. Does that have to be within work? Could it be something else entirely?

So many questions unanswered. I’ll sleep on it.

It’s now the morning after the night before. I have already cancelled my two gym classes which is often a sign I’m not functioning very well mentally. I have been struggling with numbness, pins and needles and stiff hands, wrists and arms for a while now. I’ve had lots of tests. Nothing found and they are still ongoing. Recently it’s become painful and very weak and achy. This morning was terrible. Is it related to stress in my mind? Perhaps.

I’ll try to get out later. Go for a long walk. I already know I won’t run. It’s going to be one of ‘those’ days for me. God I hate this feeling of being stuck. That’s the only way I can describe it. At least I’m not hungover or feeling weighed down by alcohol. That made days like today 100 times worse. Sobriety means I know I’ll get through it and the feelings will pass. I’ll find some tools to help me today. Ones I know I can cope with.

Too much ruminating about the past and the future makes Claire an anxious mess. Staying in the present is bloody difficult some days though. I will try.

Claire xx

I went!!

I’m not going to write a long drawn out post but I thought I’d update those of you that took the time to read, like or comment on yesterday’s dilemma! If you didn’t read my last post then you’ll probably want to skip this one!!

I do go. I drank a glass of AF wine and got myself dressed up. My husband and I walked in, straight into Di and as expected we were ignored. My stomach churned but I carried on past as if I hadn’t noticed she was there. I remained calm. There were others I hadn’t seen for a long time, all ready with kisses and hugs for me. We stayed for 2 hrs. Di’s boyfriend arrived and sat at the end of the bar staring at me, or it felt like that anyway. She started to get drunk and sashayed past us a few times. I remembered the advice you all gave yesterday and we got the hell out of dodge! Said our goodbyes before it became tricky and ducked out. No drama, no anxiety, just left.

This morning I don’t feel relieved or elated but I’m glad I went. I’m so glad I don’t drink because the outcome would be different today and I know for a fact I’d be struggling this morning with a hangover from hell and feelings of low self esteem and self blame. I do recognise however that I feel sadness. Sad that there was no way to resolve what happened in the past, sad that people can’t forgive and at the very least end the friendship on good terms. That might be naive and linked to other deeper issues I have going on. I am however just going to accept that the emotion I have after going last night is sadness. It’s not overwhelming, it’s just there. I can’t numb it, change it or make it go away and I really don’t like it! What’s that about? Hmmm 🤔 another bout of navel gazing might be needed.

It’s ok to be a little blue sometimes.

Anyway, thank you once again for the lovely comments and support. So grateful you are all out there in the universe 😍

Claire xx

To go or not to go …

Today I am anxious. I have had slow growing anxiety over the past couple of days and now it’s reached the level where I am lying in bed because I’m not sure how best to manage it.

Those of you that have read past posts of mine will know that I have had some tricky situations with friendships and relationships over past months. One friend (I will call her Di) has disappeared from my life completely after a couple of intense years of friendship. Following the final ‘split’ I gave up alcohol. It was one of the ways a managed the whole fall out. I’m not going to go into the in and outs of what happened, mainly because to this day I’m not really sure. There was lots of made up stuff about me which hurt a great deal but I don’t know why she said it or behaved as she did.

Anyways, tonight I am attending a mutual friend’s 50th birthday celebrations. This friend (B), I have known for 40 years. I met Di through her. I haven’t discussed Di with her or even so much as mentioned her name in 3 months. They are exceptionally close. I know Di and all her friends will be there later. I know I’m going to be catapulted back to teenage angst and playground ‘mean girl’ bullying. I know I could just not go, but my long standing friend B would be sad about that. My family (brother and parents) were invited but can’t attend. My husband will come with me so I’m not totally alone (although Di and her ‘was married but now estranged’ boyfriend hate him too for some unknown reason). The whole situation is petty, ridiculous and frankly boring but seeing her and having to stand in a room and be pointedly ignored fills me with dread.

Luckily I’m not drinking which means I won’t lose control and say something I’ll regret. Plus I’ll be driving and we can show our faces and then quickly get the hell out of dodge. Still, I’ve told myself all this over and over but it doesn’t help me. People keep saying it’ll be fine but I’m tipping into unmanageable anxiety which then descends into ‘switch off’ and disengage because I can’t handle how it feels.

Wow, this is the first time I’ve actually described my anxiety and subsequent low mood as it happens, in real time. Blogging is good for that, right? I have an appointment to get to in an hour’s time and I’ve already tried to think up excuses how to avoid going. It’s a work based commitment but the overwhelming feeling at the moment is to just stay here, in the safety of my bedroom!! What to do? Should I not go this evening, just bail out totally which will stop the anxiety. Or is that not facing difficult emotions and pure avoidance.

Before sobriety I would drink. I’d start at 5 ish to give me courage. I’d be totally wasted by the end of the night but I’d survive it. I don’t have that crutch now so I need to either not go or find a way through this. I think writing it down has helped a little. I will go to my work appointment. I’ll force myself to achieve at least that today. One thing at a time.

Agh! I hate anxiety and I just want it to leave me alone.

Claire xx

Fed-up Friday Feelings

Struggling tonight folks. Really have found today hard and I’m trying to think about why that might be the case.

This weekend I’m approaching my 3 month sober milestone. My head tells me that’s a huge achievement but my heart doesn’t feel the same. Tonight I just feel exhausted. Overwhelmed by life and shit. There isn’t really anything specific I can blame it on. I’ve just lost my mojo. I actually sat on the train on the way home from work and really fancied coming home and pouring a large glass of Shiraz. For the first time in a while I thought ‘fuck it, I want to experience that first sip on a Friday night feeling’. I didn’t. I poured a glass of AF wine and drank that instead, whilst taking a bath with bubbles, candles and classical chill tunes on Alexa.

I wonder if I’m spending too much time alone when I’m not at work. Without alcohol I have felt far more at ease in my own company and less inclined to go out and socialise. I still have lots of contact with friends. I’m just not instigating evenings out and they therefore don’t happen as much. I’m fine with that but maybe there is only so much ‘alone’ time one can tolerate.

I suspect myself and my husband often spent our Friday evenings drinking together. Now I just start to get bored of the TV very quickly and tired much earlier. I think our relationship has changed and we aren’t as close because alcohol isn’t there to glue us together. It was what we did. What we’ve always done. Now I’m not drinking the cracks are beginning to show. To be honest they were appearing before but alcohol just papered over them. I can’t address that at the moment though. It’s too big. Just too scary.

I don’t ever regret giving up alcohol though. In spite of evenings and days like today, it was without a doubt the best decision I ever made. If it means I’m going to have to face tough challenges that I have been denying exist or ignoring then so be it. I’ll be better for it. For each ‘bad’ day there are now countless ‘good’ days. I am grateful for that. I’ll start my journal tomorrow. I think it will help. Thoughts still whizz around. I’m learning to pay attention to them but not to hold onto them. Meditation is still new to me but I’m practicing.

It’s hard work isn’t it? Changing, developing, managing without our crutch. Stopping addiction. I’ve become more introverted and introspective than I ever believed I could be. I like being that way but I guess I forget how much I effort this takes and that there will be times where it’s emotionally draining. Tonight I don’t feel there’s much left in the tank. I don’t want to appear negative because none of this journey has been negative. Challenging yes, negative no. It’s important to write about the tough stuff too.

So my lovely sober gang, I’ll go to sleep feeling a little better that I’ve shared with friends how I’m feeling. As we all know, sometimes all we can do is sleep it off. Tomorrow is a new day.

Claire xx

Photo of one of my favourite places just to cheer myself up 😊

Fade to grey

Earlier today I read a post by Ashley at mentalhealthathome.org focusing on major depression and the impact it can have on someone’s day to day living. It’s a beautifully brave post, honestly expressing her experiences. Ashley’s words led to a moment of personal reflection and I wanted to share how ‘depression’ felt for me.

At its worst my depression probably lasted a year, maybe two, with a brief reprieve in the middle. It didn’t feel like I’d imagined depression was supposed to feel. Yep, I was a person that ‘judged’ depression. I’m ashamed to admit it but as they say, ignorance (although stupid) can be bliss. As Ashley describes, depression is not just about feeling ‘sad’. It’s so much more and affects individuals differently. I was unaware that the awful, soul destroying feelings I was experiencing were all part of the label ‘depression’.

For me, by far the worst aspect was the complete disengagement and disinterest in life. All colour gone, not even black and white. Just grey. No spark, no pleasure, not even a flutter of excitement. Added to the this was the debilitating feeling of not giving a shit. About anything or anyone. Seriously, even writing that down makes my chest tighten and triggers an overwhelming urge to go hug my boys. I was no longer there, I had disappeared.

Ashley lives daily with that feeling and talks about dealing with the grief of maybe never finding that person again. I am currently not depressed and I definitely have all the colour back in my life. That being said, I am not the person I was. She has also gone, as Ashley’s old self did, never to return. I am not sad about that. I like who I am now. Depression has changed me, for the better I think. I have a greater understanding of others and a compassion that wasn’t there before. I thank the universe on a daily basis that I feel well and I hope I never stop appreciating rainbows in all their colourful glory.

Claire xx

Can I be an Avenger now?

It’s Friday and after a lot of soul searching and navel gazing at the end of last week and beginning of this one I am delighted to say, I feel pretty darn fabulous tonight.

I have had a great few days. Nothing to mention specifically. I just find myself appreciating the really important people in my life. I am also no longer grieving for those people I have had to leave behind. In fact on Wednesday I was able to engage with a work colleague after over a year of a ‘difficult’ relationship and stand up for myself in a calm and considered manner. I didn’t try to impress, cajole, ‘win’ him over and I didn’t get upset, angry or take his remarks personally. I felt like I had some form of invisible protection, a shield that ensured barbed or suggestive comments bounced off. I stood back, processed, said what I needed to and left politely. HUGE step for me.

I have to admit. This shield, cloak, bubble (not sure how to name it!) of protection is existing more and more for me. Don’t worry, it isn’t a barrier I put up. It momentarily deflects situations and comments. It allows me breathing space to think about how I feel. It’s only a split second but boy does it help! It provides me with resilience and reduces my vulnerability.

Where has it come from? It certainly wasn’t there a few months back and hasn’t been there for a number of years. I’m not even sure I’ve ever held it in my possession. Not as it is at this moment. Is that sobriety? Is it knowing that the company I now keep value and love me? Is it the support and kindness I have received from the community on this blog? Is it one very special person who has helped me see I’m worth so much more than I thought or could believe? Likely it’s all of it and it all mixes together in one big pot to create strength and build self esteem.

I know the first step was stopping drinking. If you stumble across this post and you are wondering if you drink too much and if you should give it the old heave ho …. DO IT! Don’t say it’s forever, but start. You too could have an invisible protective shield just like mine 😉

Claire xxx

The girl did good!

Well, it once seemed such an impossibility and an insurmountable challenge but I’m delighted and proud to tell you, my blogging pals, that I have now not touched a drop of alcohol for exactly ONE MONTH (I felt capitals were apt here!). Like, a whole god damn month!!!!!! Who would have thought?? Certainly not me (or to be fair, anyone who knew me!). However, here I am, one month on, sober and still standing. It’s probably a good time to consider what’s happened in just one month:

1. I now sleep! I still wake in the night but don’t lie there for hours feeling shocking and reliving past events or worrying about future ones.

2. I no longer wake up in the early hours bargaining with myself not to drink later that day or this week or until Thursday .. only to then let myself down every single time!

3. I haven’t had a single hangover for an ENTIRE MONTH!!! I do still have headaches, which may be related to not enough water and too much caffeine, but compared to wasting days, feeling like shit, with no energy for anything, it’s small fry.

4. I enjoy mornings. I am actually a ‘morning person’ …. who knew? All these years I’ve said I’m a night owl and it was bollocks. Utter rubbish. I especially love Sunday mornings. Quiet and peaceful, just me, myself and I, before everyone else stirs. Bliss.

5. I am calm. My mind is not frantic. I’m still emotional and I’ll cry at the drop of a hat, but it’s good emotions. Positive.

6. My anxiety and depression has finally lifted. I’m still taking my anti depressants as I was before but that great black cloud that sat above me and the feelings of panic that washed over me have all but disappeared. I still feel down at times and I still worry about stuff but it doesn’t take hold like it did. I can manage it. The more I deal with it, the less it happens.

7. I am less of a people pleaser and my self esteem has returned …. at long last. I am starting, slowly, to identify those that are important in my life, who truly care for and love me. The opposite is true, I am beginning to recognise the people that took advantage, who always put their needs first and never truly bothered about my feelings. I am saying goodbye to some of those people and I am learning to step back from others who have the capacity to hurt me.

8. I am engaging with my family. I have made far more effort with my mum and have started to rebuild our relationship, which was gradually falling apart. My two boys finally have their mum back and are so proud that I don’t drink alcohol. I do wish they wouldn’t share my sobriety with everyone we know but I guess if they want to shout it from the rooftops then who am I to stop them?

9. I have realised, through the love and support of a very dear friend, that I am a kind person, a good mum, a decent human being and, though I make mistakes, I am worth people loving and caring for me. I deserve it!

10. I am sober and I intend to remain that way. I don’t feel as though I have given anything up. Instead, I feel I’ve given myself a chance at enjoying life again.

So, I have listed just 10 of many, many positives that removing alcohol from my life has given me. What an amazing Christmas gift I gave myself when I decided to start this journey. Lastly, I want to thank all of you on here for reading my posts up until now, for liking them and commenting. I would not be here if it wasn’t for my ‘sober pals’ and I’m so grateful to you all.

Now for my next month ….

Love, hugs and thanks

Claire xxx