1am

It’s 1am and here I am, unable to sleep for what must be the third time this week.

I have no idea what’s keeping me awake tonight. One night, it was feelings of ‘What am I doing with my life?’ another time it was because I wanted to write. Last night pain decided to climb into bed with me and make getting comfortable impossible, but today…
It’s been one of those weird days today, where I haven’t felt unwell exactly, but I’ve not been myself either. I could tell things would be like that as soon as I woke up because I felt anxious to my tummy. All churn-y and whatnot.
I’d already planned to work from home, which was probably a blessing. I sort of feel like I’ve been in a daze all day; not down the grey pit of depression, but not fully engaged with life either.
I suppose I’m probably just over tired. I think I should try sleep now. I hope i can. I’m sure things will feel better in the morning…
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4 years on antidepressants

The other day while I was in the shower it hit me: February marked four years since I started taking antidepressants, and as well as wondering where the time had gone, I realised I wasn’t sure how I feel about this. I’m still not.

Before I go any further with this post, I want to make it clear that right from the first couple of weeks of taking my meds I knew I’d done the right thing. It’s actually the best thing I’ve ever done. I have no regrets.

But I still remember how I felt in my doctors appointment that day. I’d been offered meds before in the past and refused them, but this time I knew I’d do anything they suggested. At the time, my anxiety was more of an issue than depression, and, as dramatic as I know this sounds, I was genuinely scared by how bad things had become.

I couldn’t relax, couldn’t sit still, and my germ anxiety was so bad I changed my clothes every time went into the bathroom, even it is was just to scrub my face. I washed my hands before, during and after using the toilet.   I laugh about this last part now when I bring it up to show people how far I’ve come, but honestly, I don’t find it funny in the slightest. I find it terrifying.

Then the doctor told me that he’d like me to be on them ‘until I’m feeling a bit brighter, plus another six months’.

I felt like the bottom had just fallen out of my world. I wanted to take it back. I wanted to take it all back, even the CBT I’d agreed to try instead of counselling like I’d had several times before (I’ve actually had CBT since then too). I’d agreed to give over at least half a year of my life to taking these meds. That was way too long! I’d made a huge mistake! I couldn’t take it back because the prescription was already in my hand.

I got home and paced my room as I listened to Twenty One Pilots in my earphones as loudly as the volume would let. This, as trivial as it sounds,  is actually quite significant and proves how angry I was with myself. When someone bought me my very first tape walkman as a kid, I hardly used it because I was so afraid it would make me go deaf, and on the rare occasions I did use it, I would spend at least 10 minutes after I’d taken the headphones off repeating everything my parents said back to them so they (and I )  could check I hadn’t gone deaf. I had to do this for quite a while to prove that my ears were’t playing tricks on me for the first few sentences…

I’m over this particular worry now, but it’s always in the back of my mind whenever I use my earphones.

Anyway…

Fast-forward to 2018 and I’m taking antidepressants way, way, way more for depression than anxiety and I feel strangely okay about it. I’ve had so many ‘dips’ in this time that I know I’m not ready come off them yet. They’ve not been a magical cure, I’ve had to switch tablets once and raise my doseage more than once, but most of the time they keep me level enough that I can drag myself out of bed, even on my ‘bad’ days, and can actually distinguish one thought from another rather than being sucked into a rabbit hole of thoughts and worries.

I feel like I’ve hit rock bottom at least three times in the last four years, but I’ve found my way back every time. When all is said and done, that’s what’s important.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Allow me to re-introduce myself

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Me with my hair in plaits

It recently occurred to me that a  lot of new people have started reading View from a Walking Frame since Employable Me aired. I realised that not all of those people will know a lot about me or this blog, so I thought today it might be nice to re-introduce myself and explain a few of the things I natter on about on here.

So, here is a bit of a potted history of my life.

About Me

I’m pretty sure most of you will have worked this out already, but if you haven’t then I’m Nicola Golding (although I go by Nic) and I have cerebral palsy. I write a lot, read just as much and drink way, way, way too much tea.

I also have anxiety and depression that flares up a various points in my life, which I talk about a lot on here (and my YouTube channel too).

I have a boyfriend of nine years, two cats, a dog, and a degree in multimedia journalism.

That’s about as interesting as I get to be honest, but if you want to know more about me that isn’t related to my disability or mental health, then you can always look through my old Fun Fact Friday posts.

About my cerebral palsy

There are about 17 million people in the world who have cerebral palsy, and while I’m definitely not a CP (or disability) expert, I am perhaps the only expert in how cerebral palsy truly effects me.

To cut a very long story short, I was born 14 weeks premature and had a bleed in my brain, and that is how I got CP, or spastic diaplegic cerebral palsy to be specific. There are four main types of cerebral palsy, but mine is the spastic kind, which means I have muscle tightness. Diaplegic means I have it in two limbs (both of my legs). Although, my left arm is also impacted a bit, so some professionals call me triplegic (three limbs).

There is no cure for it, but I can learn to manage my pain and the various other challenges my disability throws at me.

The main problem I have is pain. There is not a single day where I am ever completely pain free. Some days are worse than others. Now I’m getting older (I’m 27) I’m noticing that the bad days are getting more and more frequent, and some months they outnumber the good.

The main thing is that I wouldn’t change my life. I wouldn’t take away my disability.

In truth, it actually makes me quite sad when people tell me they think ‘it’s a shame’ that I’m like this, because it’s really not.

 

Anyway, I think that’s enough about me. Why not tell me a little bit about yourself  in the comments.

Love,

Nic xx

 

 

My first week of 2018

Well the first week of 2018 was definitely eventful for me. I had my birthday, three freelance work deadlines, two full days of volunteering, and I even bothered to put my makeup on at least three times. And I managed to survive on that on less sleep than I would’ve like, and without getting so anxious that I turned into a puff of smoke.

I’m so proud of myself.  It might not sound like a big deal, but I haven’t been this busy in a long time, and I’d started to become afraid that I might not be able to handle it any more. Turns out I can. Cool.

Over the years I’ve learned the hard way that setting myself too many long-term goals at once isn’t great. I have a habit of turning them into sticks to beat myself with. As much as I’m working hard to not do that, but I find it’s better not to take chances. That said, I’m (so far) still feeling pretty positive about everything to I do have a couple of things I want to try achieve this year:

Make more content

Believe it or not, there was once time when I used to update this blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and my YouTube channel every Sunday, and I loved it. That was before my mental health took the biggest nose-dive it has ever taken and I could hardly bring myself to get out of bed, let alone do anything else.

I’m not sure if going to commit to that schedule again straightaway, but I’m hoping for at least two blog posts a week and two YouTube videos a month. We’ll see.

Complete a second draft of my YA eating disorders novel

I have way too many novels on the go. I think around three or four, but the one I’m furthest along with is a YA  novel about teenagers with eating disorders. I’ve even had feedback on it from an editor.

I say here that I want to finish a second draft, but I’ve actually redrafted the first third of it too many times to count. By the end of the year, I want to have actually re-drafted it all the way to the end so I can send it back to my editor.

Wish me luck!

 

A Positive Start

Well, it’s just past midnight on January 2nd. I am pleased, and actually quite amazed to say that I managed to survive New Year without dissolving into a ball of anxiety, depression and self-loathing like I have done almost every year since I graduated.

If anything, I’m more motivated than ever.

It’s also my birthday. 27 years ago today I shocked (and probably panicked) everyone by deciding that I wanted to take my place in the world 14 weeks ahead of schedule. I got cerebral palsy for my eagerness.

I wish I could say this level of punctuality has followed me into my adult life, but I’d be lying.

For the past few years I haven’t wanted to do anything special for my birthday.

I never really gave that much thought when I was a kid, but now I’m older it feels pretty darn weird. I think it always will now. I mean, why would/should/do I celebrate a day that was probably awful for my family?

This year though, I’ve had a bit of a change of heart. I survived. My mum survived. It was touch and go for a while, but we made it. My dad also managed to come through the whole ordeal too.

My parents were told I’d need speech therapy. I didn’t.

My parents were told I might not crawl. I did. Within two weeks of them being told that.

They were told I might only be able to ‘walk around a supermarket at best’. I think you all know how wrong that turned out to be.

Not only did we all survive, but we stuck two fingers up to every expectation along the way.

And we still do that last part. Every. Single. Day.

I think that’s pretty freaking amazing.

I’m off to celebrate. Who’s with me?

Blogging about your own life is hard

This might seem like a really obvious thing to say, but blogging so openly about my own life with cerebral palsy is hard.

One of the most important things about this blog for me is that I keep as honest as possible. It’s not easy for me to admit that getting on buses scares me because of the disabled access, that I can’t tie my own shoelaces, or, that on occasion, I have fallen over and wet myself on the way to the toilet. And yet, here I am, doing just that.
People who read this blog now will probably have a very different opinion of me from those who have been reading since the early days.
This makes me sad.
I worry that people will see me as someone who can’t, rather than someone who can do and does do.
When I first started this blog almost a year after graduating from my multimedia journalism degree, I worried a lot about how this blog would look to potential employers. I worried about whether or not my inability to tie my shoelaces might come across as an inability to perform work-related tasks, like sending e-mails. I worried about whether or not I should mention that I like to go to the pub with my friends.
Then people started to read it. People with CP, loved ones of people with CP, or people who just found my blog interesting. These lovely people left comment after comment and I realised that a lot of them had to deal with things that I do.
I started talking about my bad days, my pain management  (which I’m pretty good at most of the time) and the surgeries I’d had as a teenager. People responded. People related. People cared.
Worries about what employers would think faded away, I stopped paying attention to my stats. I was being me. I was having fun.
People were grateful for my posts, especially parents of children with CP. Even if the posts weren’t always happy ones, people kept commenting. Your comments and support have kept me going over many a bad CP night.
Talking about my mental health was harder. The day I came home from the doctor with antidepressants I cried. I was so very ashamed. I’d struggled with my mental health since childhood. I felt like I had truly failed at life.
I didn’t talk about it for a while. I didn’t think anyone would read or understand-  but they did.
They still kept coming back. You still kept coming back.
My posts have not been regular lately, I know that. People still keep subscribing to it via WordPress, even though the mood of this blog has changed.
I’m going through a rough pain patch and a rough mental health one too. I’ve recently upped my meds again and I’ve just had a x-ray to see if that will tell us anything about my pelvis pain.
My long-term physio has just retired so I’m on the waiting list to see a new one.
My therapist has just referred me to another  one because he felt that I needed to ‘step up a level’. Yup, that means I’m on another waiting list.
My circumstances have changed a lot in the last four years. I’m still looking for permanent work. I have freelance work, but nothing full-time, which is what I want, need and am capable of.
I was apparently written off when I was younger, but got a first in my degree. I was born at 26 weeks gestation, 26 years ago and still survived. My parents were told I’d walk around a supermarket ‘at best’.
I walk round supermarkets for fun. While using a walking frame and carrying a basket of shopping.
I’m both sorry and not sorry that this blog isn’t showing the best me at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be that again.
With a job to distract me from my pain, a good medical team, and understanding people around me, who knows what might be possible.
Thank you for all your support,
Nic

November was indeed crazy!

Hey, remember how I wrote that blog post before November even started saying that it was going to be a crazy month, what with NaNoWriMo going and all my appointments and stuff? Well it turned out to be an even crazier month than I thought, what with NaNoWriMo going on, all my appointments, going to see one of my favouriate authors doing a talk, and my family re-homing a dog from some of our friends who couldn’t give her as much attention as they would have liked any more. Yup, you read that right Little Miss Turns-Into-A-Ball-of-Anxiety-Everytime-a-Dog-Even-Looks-At-Her now shares a home with a dog. And I love her. Well, I never.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? My first day of NaNo was awful, and it didn’t get any better. It took me about two days to get what I affectionately call ‘NaNo Neck’ this year. That is what I call it when my neck, back and shoulders all hate me for pending too much time hunched over my laptop, which happens every year sooner or later. My plot was virtually non-exsistant (and still is.) I had several days where I didn’t write anything, but I dragged myself over the finish line with a few hours to spare. Here’s a YouTube video I made about the whole thing, if you’re interested.

 

Needless to say the month was a tough one in terms of my cerebral palsy, what with all the extra pain and the cold (omg the cold) but I did have my botox and they’ve ordered me some new boots to go with my calipers, which I needed as my old ones were getting holes in. Oh, and everything went fine at the dentist, which is always nice. Apparently I don’t have to go for another nine months now instead of six months. Yippee!

So, let’s talk about the dog now. She’s a six year-old shi tuz called Tallulah and at first I was really, really nervous about getting her. I’ve never had a dog before, and don’t know a lot about them, and the ones that I have been around have generally been bouncy or yappy or too playful for me to handle, and then of course there is my whole ‘cats are clean dogs are dirty’ thing that my brain thinks for some reason.

There were a few teething problems so I kept things quiet about her online until we had them a bit more under control in case it turned out that we weren’t the right family for her and she wasn’t the right dog for us. Anyway, things have settled and we’re keeping her, although things still aren’t easy because the poor little thing is undergoing a phantom pregnancy (she’d just had her last season a month of two before we got her) and the poor thing is very sad and confused about why she doesn’t have puppies yet.

So, that was the hectic month that was Novemeber. Hopefully I’ll be back a little more regularly now. How are you guys?