Normal. I just want to get back to normal. I can hear myself say it, but actually, what is normal?
Do I want to go back there? Is 'normal' what I aspire to? I think having spent so much time recently in my bed with plenty of time for thinking and reflecting on things, I am wondering what actually it is that I am aiming for.
If 'normal' has caused me to have a heart attack, then I definitely don't want to be going back there.
If 'normal' is being so busy that I don't have time to think or look after myself, I don't think I should be going back there either.
If 'normal' means I don't have time for my friends (which I didn't) I don't want to go back there.
If 'normal' means I've got no energy to play with my kids, then I don't want to go back there.
If 'normal' means I'm so unfit and overweight I can't run 50 yards without feeling like I'm going to expire, I don't want to go back there. I'm hoping that if I do what I'm told by the cardiac rehabilitation people that I'll be able to get myself fitter than I was before this happened. It wouldn't take much to be honest. I've lost around 10lbs in weight since the heart attack as my appetite isn't that great and I'm too scared to eat anything naughty!
So I'm coming to the realisation that I'm not trying to get back to normal at all. I'm searching for a new version of normal which is a lot more fun than the old version. I might do normal things, but going back to what I was doing before would be a really stupid idea. I knew I was struggling, before it came to this, I just didn't know what to do about it. If the truth be told I still don't know what to do about it. But one thing I do know is that things have got to change, and I'm going to need strength and tenacity to make those changes happen.
So trying to make sense of what put me in this position in the first place - it isn't hard to see why I was stressed:
Mum in specialist care home with advanced dementia after becoming violent being sectioned and spending 9 months in hospital. She is currently in a state you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.
Dad had heart attack Sept 2015 - doing ok but he stresses me at times although he doesn't mean to.
I have no siblings so nobody to share the load with or talk to.
Mum in law with advanced dementia living around the corner with father in law who is 24/7 carer and struggling like hell. I was doing all the arranging of carers, getting social services in etc. It is more complicated than it sounds.
2 boys aged 8 and 6
Full time job (which I love) but still trying to juggle with school runs and things
No support from family with kids whatsoever - only childcare we can get is what we pay for.
Kids don't have a quick/easy bedtime routine and don't routinely do any chores
What is more difficult is to work out what gives. Or is it all about organisation, working out a schedule and better planning. I'm guilty of doing most of that in my head and last minute, and I'm always in a rush.
Also difficult to work out is what do I want? There are many things I can't change - OK of course I'd like my mum and mum-in-law to be well but that isn't going to happen. In some ways I'd be relieved if either of them passed on simply because they have no quality of life as things stand, as the dementia is so severe now it really affects everything. My mum can't walk, talk, feed herself, she shouts and can be angry and physically aggressive, she has fits, is doubly incontinent, has a broken hip that they can't fix. What kind of life is that? My mum-in-law is not as bad, but is very anxious and losing weight at an alarming rate - just over 6 stone at the last weigh in, but she won't eat and you can't really force it. I think also the impact on carers and family can't be underestimated and it is stressful seeing/knowing that both of them are so ill. I'd like my dad to stop stressing me out - his first response to my heart attack was 'what are you trying to do to me?', and then he started laying the law down about what I had to do - get fit, lose weight etc. I do know that, and don't need pressure from him. I'd also like the boys to help out a bit more, but they are only 8 and 6.
But really, what do I want - I love my job, but full time is hard going with everything else that I need to fit in. It gives me the chance to work with great people, inspire students (hopefully) and it gives me intellectual challenge.
I basically want to be healthy, happy, loved, fit, and fun. Oh and a bit of wealth wouldnt go amiss. 't the moment I think I am loved by my closest ones, but I've neglected my friends and I'm none of the other 4. Definitely unhealthy, unhappy mainly because of that, unfit, and definitely not having much fun. Money wise we are ok, but could do better.
SO back to normal aint gonna happen. What I need is to find a new normal that makes me happy, healthy, loved, fit and fun. Next step is putting it all together. Help.