I'm starting 3 days of furlough today. What weird times we are living in. I should be gearing up for a busy January booking amazing holidays for people, but instead I'm working from home again with the office closing to the public for who knows how long. And we are 2 days away from Brexit finally being actioned. What a year it's been!
Despite all of this, it's been a lovely Christmas seeing family and friends whilst the restrictions briefly lifted. I did spend my first ever Christmas day alone and it was surprisingly lovely and I actually felt quite content. I cooked dinner for myself and ordered in my favourite champagne. I got to lie in and wake up to my own pace with the kitties and the only thing I forgot was the stuffing, so I had yorkies instead!
Our first session of family therapy went ok last week. It was with my older sister and mum to begin with. I wanted us to address the issues raised by my latest hospitalisation and how both parties were feeling and had felt during that time. As you know, I found going into hospital and the events leading up to it incredibly traumatic in themselves.
Here are a few of my main points I journalled in preparation, which you may be able to relate to:
The day after I saw my counsellor and I read her one of my all time favourite stories and the one and only Christmas story in my humble opinion "A Night Before Christmas". I also told her I appreciate and hugely respect her authenticity. I like the fact she's not on social media for example.
I've been watching so many fab shows on the box, a lot being about my heroes or being favourite programs of mine or celebrating a significant anniversary - Billy Connolly's goodbye to stand up, Sheridan Smith's Becoming Mum where she openly talks about her struggles with her mental health, 25 years of Common People by Pulp, Cliff Richard's King of Christmas, Victoria Wood's Secret Files and live stand up show from 1997, Bobby Ball's last appearance in Not Going Out before he passed, new comedy Pandemonium, Ricky Gervais stand up shows Animals and Politics, Mandy, Mrs Brown's Boys (of course!), the history of the Queen's speech, Have I got 30 years for you, Birds of a Feather, Motherland, King Gary, The story behind The Good Life, 25 years of Bridget Jones and Nigella doing her wonderful Christmas cooking, still going strong at 60.
So our Girl's Christmas Sunday lunch we were all really looking forward to was eventually cancelled for definite, once the Tiers were established Saturday evening. At the moment I work in Tier 4 but I live in Tier 2. I am very confused about the Tiers. Anyhoo, to compensate for yet another disappointment this year, I've booked Mrs Brown's Boys D'live show celebrating 10 years of the show for next June. I am a massive fan and have wanted to see the cast live for years!
I've been coming to terms this week with incidents before my last hospital stay. There's a lot of things I don't remember. I wanted to hear from my counsellor what had happened in the session when she'd called the Duty GP because the knife had fallen out of my pocket and I had confessed to hearing voices in an email earlier that week. She said I was incoherent, but because I was able to say I was ok to go home and didn't want an ambulance, the Duty doctor told my counsellor they couldn't section me.
Hearing that now and I feel a great deal of remorse. I hadn't intended to hurt my counsellor. I am so grateful she is still willing to see me. She says it's good we can talk about these things openly. She also reminded me we are dealing with big stuff here and it's ok. There are going to be bumps along my recovery journey.
I was also invited to provide feedback to the CQC about my 6 visits to A&E during those awful 3 weeks before being sectioned. I've been going back over my ramblings and rants in my diary to piece together things. I think the ambulance and A&E staff were amazing and, incredible to me, non judgemental. I just expect everyone to have a judgement. I told them the Psyche Liaison Team were diabolical. I can't believe the difference from my previous hospital admission in 2018. I don't know if that falls under the remit of this particular CQC feedback, but I said it anyway. Now that I am feeling stronger, I need to understand everything that happened so I can file it away. It's how my brain works!
So I think I'm going to have Christmas day alone for the first time ever, which is why I'm making such an effort to see all the important people in my life in the lead up and then see my family on Boxing day. I definitely enjoy the preparation and festivities before the actual day. Maybe that might change when I have children of my own!
I've just finished a festive yoga class with my instructor over Zoom. Really fab way to start the day and lots of inversions this time. I've been keeping my yoga practice going, except when I was in hospital. It's definitely one of my recovery pillars.
Later on today I'm going for a festive lunch with a good friend and we're going all out with the menu! She has been amazing and, pre covid kicking off earlier this year, we were going swimming weekly. I hope we can resume that soon. I really miss it.
Covid continues to cause havoc.. A week ago we had the most understated Crimbo office party I think I've ever been to. What a laugh! I've only just booked to see Book of Mormon next year and it's being rebooked already. BA started their sale this week and then pulled a load of routes. And yesterday we had Sky News outside our office, as Reading is going from Tier 2 to Tier 3 or 4 on Saturday?? - I really don't know what's happening.
I escaped into my only little world last night after work. I've been watching Ricky Gervais's Derek which I absolutely LOVE, whilst wrapping pressies. That was heaven for me.
Gracie has finally been neutered so she can go outside soon. I can't wait for her to be able to. She needs that extra exploration having been couped up in the house for 6 months. Misty, my older cat, bought me a dead mouse on Saturday. She hasn't brought me any presents for ages haha
Yesterday was my Uncle Mark's funeral and cremation. He was one of my Godfathers. I wasn't able to attend because of the rule of 16, so to cheer myself up and keep myself on an even keel, I turned to another of my recovery pillars - comedy. I've been getting into Greg Davies. I've never watched him in Taskmaster, but I've just finished Man Down and about to start Cuckoo. I also discovered Dawn French's revival Vicar of Dibley lockdown specials on BBC iPlayer and watched Katherine Ryan's stand up show The Glitter Room. I know comedy won't work for everyone in their recovery, but it really helps me.
I was in the office on my own last Tuesday. I did talk about it with my manager as it was only my fourth day back in the office after being hospitalised and furloughed . It went ok. When I focus on work, I'm grand - and I have a lot of catching up to do after 6 weeks out. I even started planning next April's holiday to Turkey and the Balkans this week. Getting back into thinking about travel despite covid and with Lockdown 2.0 finishing on the 2nd, woo hoo! Reading was buzzing and feeling very christmassy. I love a bit of crimbo shopping in M&S and warming up with mulled wine, roasted chesnuts and bratwerst. Yum!
I was back in the office yesterday after some well timed furlough. We aren't open to the public yet as still in Lockdown 2.0. Adjusting back to normal life is always difficult after hospital, especially this time with being sectioned and so far away from home. I was glad to get my kitties up-to-date with their check ups at the Vets - Misty for her annual jab and Gracie for her primary and booster jabs before she can be neutered. Life becomes extremely chaotic when I'm unwell, so normal life is a blessing after such turmoil.
Yoga has been wonderful after missing my weekly practice, as was my massage. Not only did my mental health take a beating, but my physical health did too. Not being able to go outside in the grounds of the Priory to exercise and walk really got me down - there were never enough staff - and for most of my stay, I wasn't even allowed to go down to the walled garden on my own. There was limited activity on the ward and being able to refuse my medicine so easily was downright bizarre. That messed up my system massively. I definitely got worse in hospital and not better. The doctors didn't know me and if it hadn't have been for my psychiatrist and CPN emailing them to make it clear they wanted this to be an acute admission, I'm sure I'd still be there now! I still feel a lot of anger about all this. And to make matters worse, I picked up an abundance of medication on Thursday despite being on a restricted prescription. Half of me was like oh to hell with it and the other half, the good half, reported it to my GP to sort out for next time.
I finally bought 3 reindeers for my porch roof. This is something I have wanted to purchase for a long, long time for Christmas light decs outside. I've also been tidying up my very neglected gardens and started Christmas shopping online until the shops reopen this coming week. My crimbo pressie to myself is the finale night of The Book of Mormon in March. I really hope it goes ahead!
This was definitely my highlight of the week - listening to these legends talk about their lives and careers in One Knight Only, part of Lockdown Theatre. Thousands "zoomed" in from around the world and thousands of pounds were raised for the struggling Arts who have suffered greatly during this pandemic.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.