Saturday, 17 March 2012

Taking advice

Recently I have allowed myself to be totally overwhelmed by everything. Recently there have been numerous things around in blogger & Facebook with things saying 'i am not superwoman' and those little notices like postcards to say why or 'You need to accept you can't do everything' and its so true. I have been so manic with work, general things in life have slipped and I have got so worried about when I will fit the work in & be able to do it I have pulled all nighters or got up at 4am just to get peace & quiet with no interuptions from constant emails, a whining dog, the phone or kids. Of course this has resulted in 1 very tired person who consequencely coped even less.

You may ask what I am doing working all hours, what kind of boss I have to overload me with so much work. Well she's a bitch! She has very high expectations, does not accept failure or a poor job & completely beats you into the ground if you don't give 110%. That's because my boss is me. I am self employed. I have to take the work on as I am not yet in a position to pick & choose my work. I may be completely snowed under & manic for a few weeks or a few months in this case but then when I am quiet I have nothing. I am still at the stage where I dare not turn work down incase they then don't consider me again.

The problem is I got to the stage where I was so overwhelmed by what I had to do, I started actually avoiding it - suddenly checking my personal email, reading the ancestry family tree threads that came through about people with the same surname but who were blatantly not connected to me was important 'just incase the advice they received somehow helped me', or a quick game of cards or minesweeper to try & 'focus' me all seemed vital. I would then settle to the presentation I had to do or report to write and find I had rapidly lost concentration and was back to flitting round doing anything but the job in hand. As you can see a massive vicious circle as by school pick up I would realise how little I had achieved, panic, work all evening, sleep for 3 or 4 hours and go back to the sane pattern only another day tireder and more stressed.

I mentioned it on here a couple of times & some really lovely people showed some great support and also offered advice. I have finally taken some of that advice - small things like work for 30-40 minutes, then take a 5-10 minute break, then go back to it for another 30-40 minutes. This was brilliant advice, I've taken it & it works, I achieve so much more & often put off the break as I find myself on a roll. Sit outside for 10 minutes. When I find myself drifting, I now make a coffee & sit on the back doorstep. It works, it helps. Get more sleep. An obvious one but one I wasn't doing. I aim for at least 7 hrs now in the last few weeks & if I need an early start I try to hit my bed earlier. It helps. I apologise for never thanking those people for their comments.

I now see light at the end of the tunnel, suddenly I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. The jobs needing doing around the house, no longer seem out of my reach & I am actually looking forward to finishing the beading on the flooring in the hall & decorating. Not just yet, still 4 reports to do but I can see its not too far away.

All because I finally took some advice.

Who knows a miracle may happen & Mount Ironing that has taken over the whole of my understairs cupboard & is threatening to break free may even get tackled or am I just pushing it too far now?

Friday, 16 March 2012

How far should GPs go?

I was having a massive tidy out this morning and found an old local newspaper from a few weeks ago. The headline story was about the inquest for a teacher who tragically committed suicide following mental health problems. The inquest were trying to decide if there had been a failing in the primary care. He had been suffering from depression and seen a GP and had been referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and counselling. The appointment took weeks to come through and in the meantime everything got too much for him and he sadly ended his life.

The CBT representative at the inquest and the experts in the field claimed that CBT takes weeks to have an effect and therefore even if the appointment had come through sooner it probably would not of changed the outcome.

I disagree strongly with this. These CBT sessions are taken by qualified doctors, pychiatrists and they would of very rapidly picked up on the man's mental health and how much he was suffering. I was attending appointments due to anxiety problems before Christmas and infact leading up to Christmas life in general started to get on top of me. At each weekly anxiety session I had to fill in a questionnaire and rate how I was feeling and this is how they determined that I was beginning to slip down the depression route as well. Yes I know you can trick these questionnaires but you can also tell how someone is coping in just speaking with them.

The whole article has made me think though about mental health and how it is dealt with. Yes I am low and yes I probably am depressed and I am nowhere neea feeling the need to end my life, but I had counselling for anxiety problems prior to Christmas. By the end of the course they decided I needed CBT and referred me. I received a phone call on Monday 12th December when life is manic with Christmas school activities and my work had gone stupid and I was not in the best of places, and was asked over the phone to attend my first CBT appointment 3 days later. I did not write my appointment down, I was run off my feet with work and I consequently missed it.

Once things had calmed down after Christmas I realised I had missed it and rang to try and rebook - but I had been discharged for non-attendance. I have had to go back to my GP to be re-referred. It is now March and I am still waiting for the appointment.

3 weeks ago I also attended my local GPs and spoke with them about a variety of things. 3 years ago something happened which I have not been able to come to terms with and I think this is the route of all my problems. It has really got on top of me and made me very low and I have found it difficult to cope with work, the house, life etc, I have just been totally overwhelmed. Thing is there is not much the doctor can do, I probably need to pay and see a specialist organisation as it is not something doctors psychologists would normally deal with.

However after speaking with me she said she was concerned i was depressed and it was a bit of a chicken and an egg situation. While counselling does help depression sometimes a course of antidepressants are also required. She asked me to fill in forms to score me for depression and return to see her the following week to discuss them. I did the forms but I have not remade an appointment as I have been run off my feet with work.

Will the doctors contact me though to follow up and see if I am alright? Probably not. Do they know that I am still functioning fine or whether I am on a rapid downward spiral? No. I am fine but my point is I may not be.

Surely when they detect depression in someone when they don't return for an appointment should they not be asking the question that perhaps this person is needing more help. I have been there where getting out of bed each day was a humane effort and I am not entirely sure how I did it looking back. I had a husband and 2 children though to keep me going. Not everyone has the luxury of other people around them.

I appreciate the doctors see 100's of patients and they can not track everyone but everything is computerised, surely there should be a way they can flag people experiencing mental health issues and depression?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Reasons to be Cheerful

I have been very grumpy of late with my mojo and groove having run off and hidden in a bloody good place as I'd be blowed if I could find them, but it seems they may be skulking back home with the lovely sunshine we have been having, and I am not complaining, this week I am not having to dig deep to find my reasons as part of Michelle's Reason's to be Cheerful, so

  1. I had a horrendous day last Friday which involved a very early start at 2am, a meeting during which I struggled to stay awake and then a missed flight which left me 2 choices - to remain in Frankfurt until Monday evening for the next available flight to East Midlands and then they couldn't even confirm if my ticket would be transferable or if I would have to buy a new one, or stump up 600 Euro for a new ticket to Birmingham that night. I was not impressed when the silly EU neighbour of ours looked at me getting all upset and barked 'stop that now'! Anyhow why am I cheerful, well I paid the 600 euro and not only did t'husband surprise me by driving from North Yorkshire to Birmingham airport to meet me at 10.15pm and drop me at my car in East Midlands, but the company I was in Frankfurt for has offered to refund my expenses and t'husband's mileage without me even asking! How amazing is that?!
  2. I have just shifted a massive load of work and although I have a full week next week of work, it is slightly more relaxed without such tight deadlines and then I may (she whispers quietly) have some breathing space. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, finally a quiet period.
  3. I have just booked a 2 night stay in Edinburgh for all 4 of us mid April. That in itself is great and I am very excited. The boys have never stayed in a hotel and I have never been to Edinburgh and have always wanted to go.
  4. I am trying to convince myself this is a reason to be cheerful but I am not so sure. The scary and stupid bit about reason number 3 is we are going to Edinburgh for me to run the Edinburgh Rock n' Roll half marathon - eek. I am very behind on my training due to work constraints and am worried I wont complete it but I am not one to go back on a challenge or give up so I figure as long as I try, then I have done my best. Today I ran 5.5 miles and it was a struggle but it is my first run in 10 days and I had the dog with me and I think he makes it much harder work (honest). I figure if I can increase by 2 miles a week then I stand a good chance of completing it and if I run 3 times a week that equates to less than a mile increase each run which is surely do-able?
  5. I bought a slimpod at the weekend and started using it 2 days ago. Now I do feel I have eaten healthier things but I am also still reaching for the biscuits and chocolate but then I am only 2 days in so I am excited about using it and hopefully seeing the results. The other bonus was due to an error on their website it seems I got the slimpod for £2.01, they emailed me to tell me and do not want the extra money as they see it as their mistake. I love saving money.
  6. I am bridesmaid for one of my best friends in September and she has ordered a bridesmaid dress for me to try, it should arrive in the next few days so we have a Skype date (as she lives in Switzerland) booked in with a bottle of wine, and the dress hopefully. I can't wait.
I think that is all, I am sure there are more actually but I am tired and need to show my face to t'husband otherwise he may think I am surgically attached to my computer

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Todays tasks

Today I have busy day ahead of me and as I am the Queen of lists, I am making yet another one, and then I will see how much of it I achieve.

  1. Take t'husband's trousers to the dry cleaners (1 pair he sat in chocolate, the other he spilt his greasy tea down, worse than the kids).
  2. Finish minutes from meeting in Windsor last week, proof and send across.
  3. Take the dog for a 7 - 8 mile run (my training is seriously behind so must achieve 8.5 miles by the weekend)
  4. Ignore the headache which is forming and coming down your nose - it is not a good enough excuse to not do a run again
  5. Put the slow cooker on
  6. Iron another 10 items (this is my way of tackling Mount Ironing - do 10 items a day).
  7. Do thank you letters with Little Man
  8. Start report for the meeting I attended in Germany on Friday.
I think that is enough for today!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Getting into the Groove

As part of Kate on Thin Ice's grooving mum's linky I am once again joining in. I have been very slack over the past few weeks which is sad as I use to do this weekly and it is good to take stock on a weekly basis.

So where is my groove, well to be fair it has run off and hidden in an excellent hiding place as I am struggling to locate it. I am debating getting a GPS tracker attached to it so I can track it down!

Last week was very mixed. I posted a few weeks ago to say I was pretty low on the work front as I had organised and run a 2 day meeting which despite having brilliant outputs it appeared the 2 colleagues I did it with were less than pleased with me, and I have no idea why. Monday and Tuesday last week saw a second meeting in the same series so I was working with the same 2 colleagues, however at the end of day 2 they both said well done to me which gave me a 100% boost. Whatever I did wrong on the first one I had obviously overcome in the second and redeemed myself. Although i would love to know where I went wrong and what I did to upset them so much on the first meeting, I don't want to remind them either by bringing it up and would prefer them to have the one they were happy with fresh in their minds.

Friday saw me jetting out to Frankfurt for a 3 hour meeting which was a disaster for various reasons, if you are interested read about it here. I was exhausted by the end of the meeting so missing a plane and being told that the next available flight to East Midlands was Monday night was not good. it also shattered my self belief, I just felt only I could cock up so much, typical of me etc and it cost me £600.00 to buy a new ticket to Birmingham and then t'hubby had to spend money on petrol to meet me and take me to East Midlands to get my car, so a week that started well, ended in dire straits.

On one positive note last week I managed around a 6 mile run which is the most yet. It was a real struggle but I really pushed myself and yes there were times I had to slow to a walk for 100 yards but I still managed it, even after the dog tripped me over in the first 500 yards and sent me sprawling across the pavement right outside the supermarket on the main road - very red faced! I am actually unsure how far I ran though as my nano said it was 6.3 miles and my phone said it was 5.25 miles. I couldn't even plot it on mapmyrun either as I was so put out after falling over I gave up on my planned route and simply let the dog off in the lead in the field and lapped the field until I heard 6 miles on the nano, and I can't remember how many times I lapped the field!

This week though I have tried to pull myself together and on Saturday t'husband and I had a fab afternoon out and both conquered some fears which was a huge achievement - I will blog about this tomorrow, I have a new ploy to tackle Mount Ironing which stupidly is totally overwhelming me - well no more, I will tackle it and beat it, I got an email early this morning from the company I went to Germany for unbelievably saying they would cover all my costs and t'husbands petrol - which is more than I imagined, I had hoped they may offer me some towards it but never dreamed they would say they would pay the lot and I have purchased a slimpod and once on my nano will start on this. So lots of positives there.

So that's it from me, tomorrow I will blog about our experience of 'Go Ape'.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Yet another example of....

What a useless waste of space I am. Yesterday I was asked to attend a meeting in Frankfurt and take the notes to do the write up. It's a good opportunity as it is for the company I use to work for before I moved & went self employed & its to be the start of a flexible relationship whereby I help them out when they need me which could give me a steady flow of work.

To get to Frankfurt though I had to get the 6am flight from East Midland, this meant leaving my house at 2.30am in order to drive to the airport. I went to bed but didn't get off to sleep until about midnight for the number of things & to do lists running through my head. So on about 2hrs sleep I set off. I got the plane fine - only 6 passengers which makes me wonder how that can be cost effective but there you go. I even got to the meeting hotel with lots of time to spare. I met R who was having a nightmare with 2 of the attendees who hadn't realised they should of booked their own accommodation & the main hotel was full. The meeting was actually in a town called Mainz so I was set on a recci round the town in search of other hotels so I got to see some of Germany which was unexpected.

By the time the meeting started at 2pm I was flagging & infact my head kept nodding. Thankfully I record meetings so at least can rely on that & I don't believe anyone noticed me at the back, but not a good start to a new working relationship. I helped clear up after the meeting & then caught a taxi back to the airport with R. Our flights were both 7.40pm. I had been on the go at this stage for 16 hrs on 2 hrs sleep. The taxi dropped R at terminal 2 & then took me to terminal 1 which took about 20mins in traffic. I got there after 6, Que'd to go through check in, bought a sandwich to take with me & then hit security. The que was massive, there was a huge backlog of bags being scanned & then when it was my turn to pass through I beeped. I was frisked, beeped, infact the scanner didn't like any part of my trousers so I was scanned & frisked repeatedly until they decided I didn't have anything strapped to me or illegal contraband. I then had to get to my gate -furthest one typically. I reached it at 7.25, flight goes 7.40. Sorry last bus has gone, you've missed your flight and I, the airport staff don't give a shit. The plane was boarding on the otherside of the airport & after some begging she rang the airport management but apparently there was no way to get me to.the plane.

I walked off and stood crying In a corner. Once calmer sense kicked in & I went to customer services to request a change in flight. 1. This is a ticket booked through an agent, sorry it is non refundable or transferable. 2. The next flight to East Midlands is Sunday. 3. It is full. 4. I can get you a seat Monday morning.

I walked away, sat on the floor & sobbed. I know the managing director of my old company very well so in the end rang her to ask her advice. I could get a later flight that night into Birmingham for a sum of more than 500 euros. She was obviously pretty pissed off & made a comment we had cut it too fine getting back to the airport. I got my visa out & booked the flight.

I then rang t'hubby & told him not to wait up, that I was flying into B'ham and would then have to work out how to get from there to East Midlands to get my car. I expected an earful of abuse over the money & not paying enough attention. Instead I got the comment 'right its a lot of money but the most important thing is you get home safely, we will work it out' then while I am picking my jaw up off the floor, I hear him turn to the boys, tell them to go & wash their hands & to get coats & shoes on as did they fancy an adventure and being knights in shining armour to go & rescue mummy? This was greeted with shreaks of delight & next thing I know is they are coming to meet me in Bham & will take me to my car. How wrong can I be?

So 10.15 last night I landed, nearly 600 quid lighter & incredibly tired. We got home at 1.15am, me running on about 3.5 hours sleep in about 48hrs. I am both physically & mentally exhausted. I am also more than blaming myself and feel like a complete waste of space. How could I of let that happen? How stupid am I to miss a flight. I can't seem to get it right at all, ever.

I am home though & that counts.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Time for tea with the Queen

Well I am away with work again - only overnight but I am in Windsor Great Park and it is amazing. we are staying in a private residence owned by the Queen. It was built in the 1600's after the civil war (please don't quote me on my history here as it could be a little inaccurate!), but from what I understand the land was given to soldiers of note after the civil war by the monarchy as a thanks, as they couldn't give money, so the house was built on the land given. At some point the house was then taken back by the crown, and since then it has been given to someone chosen by the King or Queen, normally their best friend, to live in and to be Ranger of the Park.

The Great park itself is 14,000 but only 4,000 are open to the public I think. The house we were in is on private land, not open to the general public. The ranger of the Park got to live in the house and look after this land. They have all been men barr one which was Sarah Churchill who was friends with one of the Queen's. Queen Victoria's daughter also lived there for over 50 years. The present Ranger of the Park is Prince Phillip as the Queen considers him her best friend and most loyal friend, however he has no need to live there. I think it was in the 1947 that the house was given to educational purposes by the crown which is how meetings can be held there. it is a conference facility with bedrooms but they have no TVs or locks on the doors when you leave them as the place is so secure.

The land it overlooks is breathtaking, there is a deer pen so these can be seen roaming around, and about a mile from the Lodge is a tiny little village that time forgot I think! It has a tiny old post office, proper old fashioned kind, a tiny school and about 20 houses, but there is no-one around! Apparently you can not buy houses in the great park, they are given to the park workers to live in.

I felt like I had been on a retreat or something, the place was so serene and relaxing. The best bit was the history though, there were photos, explanations, furniture and talks explaining everything. We even had lunch in the room where the crisis talks took place when King Edward VIII abdicated after he was told he couldn't marry his socialite girlfriend Wallis Simpson. It was fascinating but reminded me of how little |I know about our history.

The Queen regularly attends the little church in the grounds and often visits Cumberland Lodge, and we were told if we see a Rangerover being driven like a bat out of hell round the grounds, it was likely to be the Queen!