Lately I have felt lost and alone even with people around me. My pain of my MS seems to have magnified and suddenly I have found myself struggling to cope. I lay at night wondering how will I manage to get through another day of this nerve pain, and yes pain in my heart due to still grieving for my husband.
Nearly two years on will be on the 3rd October, still my heart aches for his loss and also the pain of my MS instead of sitting quietly in the background has suddenly become much more noticeable. Its very hard finding things to do now to turn the volume down, and I have found myself musing over the fact that what on earth am I making all this effort for? Really having had a wonderful life 30 years of it more or less with my husband at 68 what was left for me?
I am feeling so sorry for myself, many people out there are far worse off then I am. I could make more effort but being ill for so long its hard to break the habit. If my hubby was still alive at least I would have someone with me to share my worries and pain, but being on my own now its difficult as I dont want to burden my family with my moaning all the time. Stupidly in a low point in my life more through grief my monkey chatter persuaded me to leave my home of 28 years and move into a more secure place to be safe. I felt by doing so it would take the stress off my family for worrying about me, as being in a large 3 bedroom house with lots of rooms and a huge garden there were plenty of traps for me, to hurt myself.
So the house went on the market and I moved into my tiny sheltered/Independent living flat. I do have access to outside a bit of garden and my flat is located on ground floor and now no flat next to me on the left, so really I have autonomy to more or less do what I want with regard to making the patch my area.
I have hand rails outside and they are covered in solar lights, my little area just twinkles at night with lots of solar lights, my aim was to make it look like a happy place. The bird feeding table went up but wasnt sure that being so close to my flat there would be any visitors.
Depression can come in many forms. It snucks up on you, and before you know it your immersed in it’s confines the voices in your head (I call my monkey chatter), who persuade you that your doing badly, you need to get a grip, everything it tells you is negative. If you listen hard enough it makes sense, and then your confidence starts to dwindle, your self doubt increases, and your feeling of despair becomes all you can feel.
I woke up one morning and thought if I was going to survive this new chapter in my life change had to happen but how? Walking is hard work, going out on my own is scary even on a scooter, because you worry that the tool you rely on will break down and you will be stuck.
Everytime I want to go out I have to ask someone to take me. That in itself makes me feel useless. “A trip to the garden centre is offered, they do not realise by offering me this it is just another reminder that I cant do my garden anymore, and have to rely on people. Looking at all the lovely plants where can I put them? I love flowers and plants, my home before was full of things, trees are my favorite, fruit trees. I love ornaments for the garden now my little space is full of them.
Come on I will take you for lunch!”. It’s not because no one asks me but lunch ugh!. It hurts to sit for very long and at the moment I am cursed with the worse flatulence anyone can face. Having MS its screwed with my bowels and my bladder and two things I can rely on is the need NOT to go to toilet so wind builds up, and needing to constantly pee so when I do go out I have to make sure there is a toilet accessible. So once I have eaten my lunch the lower bowel decides to let rip, obviously being a lady lol, I have to hold it and this in turn gives me stomach ache.
Recently in my area in lovely Cotswolds the farmers were spraying their fields with liquid manure for the years planting and the aroma outside was to say the least a slight pungent lol. I could easily stand outside then I let rip and just blame it on them as believe me I could hold my own with the smell of my manure lol. I reckon if you could actually bottle it I would be able to light up my flat ha ha. Warning handle with care danger of explosion! So you can see the conundrum I face going out is embarrassing for me there is only so much wind you can hold back without an atomic bomb going off!
Several years ago now having a reaction in my gums my teeth started to fall out. It was thought this was down to an overactive immune system. I had a few left and decided to have them removed. My rationale was to wear dentures, well I was a pensioner so done well to have kept my gnashers for so long. WRONG, I could not get on with them. After only a month my mouth shrunk and my new shiny teeth fell out. I found it really difficult to chew with them in, so Mike just said don’t bother Zen, I never notice anyway and to be honest you don’t look right wearing them. So for several years now I have not felt the need. So again going out for lunch is embarrassing for me, as it takes me so long to eat safely.
I would rather eat in my own space and not feel embarrassed or a fool. So its down to me really like I said family have asked.
So where was I oh yes, once more I was feeling pretty low, the pain was on a scale 10. Just imagine your body on fire. Literally. Every part of you burning. Its horrible and makes me feel sick. Every nerve in my body is alive and active. This is worse when it’s warm or I am tired.
It was another morning of feeling despair and pain it was time to get up. Getting up out of bed and slowly stumbling to the back patio door to let the dog out, my mind sluggish thinking what will today bring, I open the blinds (I have a snazzy electric blind you just press a remote and it slowly comes up to reveal the outside. Lucy anxiously and excitedly pressing her nose to the window, “come on mum I need a pee”, finally blinds up and curtains opened to reveal outside. There on the grass eating like there was no tomorrow was a little hedgehog. I was so excited didn’t want to make too much noise as it might scare it off. It was way too intent on snuffling up food probably bird food to even notice me.
I had no choice but to let lucy out, so sternly I asked her to calm and she did and then she was out the door crossing her legs, and went off to relieve herself. The hog never noticed and carried on.
I had totally forgotten I was tired, in pain with burning as I watched with my face against the window this little creature enjoying its repast of food. Suddenly I shook myself and grabbed my camera and managed to get a few photos. By then lucy was back. The cat had also gone out and came back in with Lucy.
I was shocked for minutes my body was ignored and I felt so much better. Could the simplest thing like a prickly round hog have changed my mindset so easily?
Once I was up fully I went hunting on Amazon armed only with a mouse I typed in hedgehog food, and found a lot of stuff good things he could eat as I didnt want him eating bird food. Next day delivery, lots of food with fly larvae, CLICK and DELIVER it arrived in 24 hours.
So the next day came, the blinds went up and guess who was there yes my little hog. I was so excited to see him again. I took more photos and a video, and Lucy good girl that she is just ignored it. My mind racing concentrating on holding a camera still leaning against the window to stop hand shake, again I actually forgot about my pain. Snuffle snuffle chomp chomp that hog could eat i had given him some dried cat food which it was obviously enjoying. https://youtu.be/JEy-GTiQ2Hg?t=23
Later the next day the hog food arrived so I now had his hedgehog food, and he was there again. More videos, more JOY, it was a lovely morning too. Lucy had come in and so had the cat and I suddenly heard a really odd bird making such a racket. Never heard that before. Then to my right I caught a movement in a tree and there suddenly was a WOODPECKER, omg I was so excited. I managed to get a small video of it it was a green woodpecker. https://youtu.be/b7arQgVLZ40?t=4
I had never seen a woodpecker even in my other very large garden where I used to live. I could just see it on the side of the tree, and managed shakily to get some sort of video proof. Since that day I have seen him several times, he will fly in low suss out the territory if its safe he hops onto the side of the tree, if not he flies into the large bushes by the side of my flat. I always have pigeons they eat like feathered pigs and constantly hog the bird food. I also have a pair of collared doves. So delicate and pretty birds. https://youtu.be/dxmfLGUUOQ8?t=4
Sorry video of woodpecker was very short.
One day feeling low again I looked out of the window and there were new birds on the feeder. I had never seen them before. They were tiny with long tails. I held my breath in fear of scaring them off, but they stayed there for at least five minutes and I managed to get a photo of them. There must have been at least 5 or 6 all different sizes. Again intent on watching them, my pain dissolved into the background.
I had taken a good photo of one of them and was quite pleased and was able to identify them as Long Tailed Tits, there was a family of them. I read that they always fly in families. They visited me several days. I am hoping they will come back next year too. It was so exciting to see them, I nearly called out to my Mike as we used to watch the birds in our garden when he was alive. He would have been over the moon at this visit. He loved birds, and nature and was one of the kindest people I know. Not being able to share this made me feel sad and depressed. It has a two edged sword.
On the one hand excitement to see such lovely little birds I had never seen before then the realisation that the one person I would have loved to have shared it with was no longer with me.
Since the first day of my hog visit, every morning when I get up and open the blinds I am anxiously waiting hoping to see my hog or even some new bird life. I did take one video of the hog and then in my peripheral vision I saw above a balloon flying overhead which made my day even more exciting. (On the video above).
So what did I learn about all this? I have learnt truly that the simplest of things can be better then any drugs, the simplest of things can make the pain disappear, the simplest of things can lift your spirits, if you look for them they are there. I had stopped looking too intent on wallowing in my own misery to realise that outside my safe cocoon there was still life going on, new families being made, little creatures working hard to survive, everyone of them was busy busy busy, not only giving me happiness but a reason to carry on.
I have bought my hog a house and its tucked under the big bush, although I havent seen him outside he has been seen and when yesterday I checked his house the entrance the leaves had been flattened down, so something had been in there. I truly hope he uses it to hibernate as he will be safe. We are loosing so much of our wildlife now, destroying hedgerows, using poison to kill slugs, and with the weather being so hot they are thirsty.
Take time to leave water out for the birds and the other little animals and if you can afford it, feed the birds. Its been such a rotten year in the United Kingdom very dry and hot and birds and wildlife are thirsty and hungry as for example the slugs the hogs eat have dried up with the heat and this has meant their food source is a lot more limited so they are coming out more in the day searching for food, as they need to pile on the pounds for their hibernation in the winter.
Just look out of your window and watch all the life going on out there when you feel down and sad, it will give you a boost.
If we practice hard enough, we can become thoroughly interested in even the simplest things of daily life, the way a child would. The smallest things would become so meaningful, they might even be worth a few words or a photograph, whatever method you use to capture them.
Author John Dickenson