Well after that utterly boring game against the USA, let's hope tonight's game against Wales is more engaging - and of course that we win it!
I've got the day off today to do some Crimbo shopping and start putting up decs. I'm going to leave decorating the tree until I get back from Lithuania because that is my favourite thing to do and I like taking my time over it. A bit of Nigella or Jamie on the TV cooking up a feast... glass of wine... warm mince pies and cream...
I've been working on some serious self care this past week - 10 minute daily CALM meditations, doing something arty and creative each day, listening to some of my favourite new music and seeing my family and friends - all of these things are included in my recovery pillars. I think I've come from such a high pressured working environment to now the polar opposite and my body is like what is going on??? I'm struggling with the after effects of my slipped disc in my leg, which has gone all wobbly and it's sort of made me lose my confidence. Then there's the cold / flu bug I cannot shake. And these things really affect my mental health. And it's winter! Urgh!
So our Qatar World Cup campaign has taken off with a win! Still a long ways to go yet...
And I'm still trying to get "with it" but this flu cold thing is really clinging on. I've had more massage and chiro to treat my achey muscles and I'm trying to feel Christmassy and get organised because this is my favourite time of year now with the rundown to Christmas. I've ordered an arty advent calendar which is really for kids, but I'm so excited for it. I feel seriously stuck at the moment and I know creativity will get me out of this funk if I can just motivate myself to get involved. The perfectionist kicks in and bolsters the procrastinator so then it's like a double whammy. But art is art, especially when it comes to art in therapy. It doesn't matter what it looks like. It doesn't matter what form it takes. What matters is that I've done something creative in the first place. Gotten lost in myself for a while because that really rests the brain.
I have used my BA credit with my old company and rebooked a nice, chill holiday in Malta with mum for next March. I'm also off to Lithuania for a familiarisation trip with my new company at the start of December. That's pretty exciting because I have no pre conceptions about the Baltics. Another couple of new countries to explore!
So after my birthday weekend, we all got sick. I've been sleeping loads and testing for Covid, but the results keep saying negative. I don't know what this is but it's making me really lethargic, not hungry or thirsty, exhausted and congested and generally feeling yuck and unmotivated.
It really is one thing after another at the moment - anxiety and panic attacks in August, slipped disc in September and October and now the flu in November - jeez, give me a break!
I don't like the clocks going back either - apart from the extra hour in bed of course. The dark mornings and evenings are rubbish and then the days being so short.
So I turned 40 on Sunday and it couldn't be more different to my 30th. The biggest thing for me is not yet being pregnant. I really expected to be by now - that was my goal - but I have very mixed feelings about this last year of my 30s and reaching this 40th milestone because my biological clock is a ticking and a tocking and I keep relapsing with my mental health. I really hope I'll get back on track in my 40th year..
It’s been the total opposite to the last year of my 20s where I had enormous fun doing 30 things to do before I’m 30. A third of the year has been a disaster - hospital, car engine blowing up, anxiety and panic attacks and the latest, a slipped disc, which has rendered me pretty much housebound for over a month now and meant cancelling my next adventure with mum to Croatia..
So it’s been hard to see the good bits when I keep having setbacks, but I can see them - our incredible holiday to India and Nepal where we met family we’ve never seen before and found mum’s childhood home still standing in Calcutta, the many concerts and shows I’ve been waiting over two years to attend thanks to Covid19, catch ups with family and friends, a brand new car, and, despite being locked in a terrible bout of anxiety, managing to update my CV, interview and be offered two new jobs at once, one of which I've now started and it's incredible how much more time I have in my life to enjoy things.
I had to mark the occasion in some way because that's just who I am - so, in true King Gary style, we went crazy golfing at Cabot Circus in Bristol which was a lot of fun with my family.
It all happened faster than I was expecting with switching jobs, then I had the being stuck at home thanks to the slipped disc, but finally here I am second day into my new job with Travel Editions. It's going to take some getting used to working from home, having weekends again and my working day generally being about 4-5 hours shorter. Also, no customers! In my travel career I've worked in Product, Contracting, Sales and now I'm Operations Assistant Manager. I'm really excited for new challenges and getting to learn about the product range on offer and how it operates behind the scenes.
It's been three long weeks but I think I've finally turned a corner with my back. I've had a couple of sessions of acupuncture and can drive, sit and stand a little more. Still not able to walk very far without having to crouch down to ease the pain running down my leg into my ankle.
I've officially finished one job and now waiting to start my new one. It was a shame I couldn't say a proper goodbye to my clients but I've written off these last few weeks. A part of me is really stressing but the other part is like it can't be helped.
I did get to let off some steam with my sister when we went to see Joanne McNally's show at the weekend called The Prosecco Express, and her warm up act Kelly Convey was also hilarious. So much that Joanne talks about rings true with us growing up and where we're at now in our lives and the comedy is on point. I really needed this. We didn't stop laughing for the whole show.
I always thought I would know if I'd slipped a disc in my back and I knew it was something I never wanted to happen to me. Well, it turns out, it can happen without even being aware. I went to bed one night feeling fine and I woke up the next morning in horrendous pain - and I can't tell you any more than that!
So that's what the doctors think now and I'm paying privately for chiro and massage and signed off for another two weeks. I don't know how people cope when they can't afford private treatment. I can only imagine they suck up the pain and carry on going to work thus further injuring themselves.
4-6 weeks recovery - I have been depressed about this - and the rigmarole of getting enough painkillers. I drive to and from the surgery and the pain is so intense and I'm hyperventilating and I basically almost pass out every time I have to make a trip. First that horrible bout of anxiety and now this. It's a relentless last few months of my 30s.
Mum and I also had to make a decision to cancel Dubrovnik next week. We had a cracking itinerary planned including day trips to Montenegro and Bosnia Herzegovina. We're really gutted but I wouldn't have been able to do anything.
Instead I'm trying to refocus and use this sick leave to fully relax and heal my back. I don't think I've watched this much tele in all my life!
So I've been signed off for a week (for starters) with what the doctor thinks is sciatica and I've spent the week trying not to feel that horrible nerve pain shooting down my leg and trying not to cry and trying not to feel well and truly helpless. I'm only allowed restricted amounts of painkillers because of my history, which exasperates me when I'm trying to manage my pain. I've just been on the sofa watching a lot of tele and now my mum is staying with me for a couple of weeks. I can't stand, walk, sit or drive. I would even go so far as to say this pain is worse than any mental distress I've ever had to cope with. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
I have been marginally distracted from the pain with my new car arriving after six months in the making, and getting all of the paperwork sorted out - and signing my contract for my new job which I start on 17th October.
The Queen's passing has floored me - and I don't know why because I always knew she was just hanging on for her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and that she wouldn't be making another Christmas Day speech. I also can't believe that Charles is finally King.
I may very well have got swept up in the queuing to view her lying in state, if it hadn't been for getting out of bed on Friday excited to have four whole days off in a row and then, recoiling in agony with a pinched nerve in my leg. I did manage to get up to London that evening with my mum and sister to see Gary Barlow's A Different Stage, but the pain was horrendous as I hobbled around.
I've spent the rest of my lovely days off alternating between lying on my bed, lying on the sofa or on my hands and knees. I did of course watch the Queen's funeral yesterday, but I've spent most of today in bed trying to get comfortable and trying to catch up on sleep. I hope to find out more about what I've done this coming week and get some treatment.
Despite all of this, Gary's show was brilliant and we even managed a glimpse of him as he left the theatre!
So... after a month or so of feeling overwhelmed, anxious and fearful of every little thing, I finally found a quiet moment this past week - amidst the noise - to sit down and ask myself "what needs to change?" And I realised my job needs to change. I didn't think I had the courage to actually go through with it because I've been consumed with the negativity that comes from anxiety. I didn't think I could drum up the motivation either. I started small. I started with my criteria - to work from home, preferably still in travel, Monday to Friday, 9-5, not customer facing - and then I began looking at jobs online and discovered that actually what I was looking for did exist! This was a revelation. Since the pandemic, it's opened up a whole new adjustment and attitude of what the "working week" could look like - and I had no idea that travel jobs were adapting too. I was really boosted by this to update my CV and to start applying, and, within the week, I was offered two jobs and I've accepted one of them!
It hasn't fixed my anxiety - I've just doubled my dose of Sertraline again to 100 mg after a review with my doctor - but it has given me some confidence back and I'm starting to remember the person I am when I'm well and firing on all cylinders.
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.