New Things

Six weeks ago I did something crazy. It had been in my head since before Christmas and I had been spending an age mulling it over too scared to say it out loud. It took until after Christmas for me to even say to anyone what I had been dreaming up.  One day I mentioned to my husband what my idea was, he assured me it wasn’t that crazy and that if I didn’t try I would never know.

To some this idea won’t sound that crazy at all but believe me it sent my anxiety into over drive. My big plan. my crazy idea, wasn’t really out there at all. I just wanted to start up a monthly coffee morning for like minded crafting friends who would like to learn new skills, solve a craft problem, get hints and tips etc. I will be honest  through 2019 I was a bit of a hermit, some of it self imposed, some of it well read my post Reflections and you decide. I was going months and I mean months without seeing anyone other than Mr Myasthenia Kid or Dembe. Ok so that is a bit of a half truth there as we were going to dog training but a 5 minute conversation once a week with someone other than my husband is not socialising. Especially when the topic is just Dembe or dogs in general. My mental health was being crushed, although creatively I had never felt so fulfilled as my sewing / embroidery had taken on a new direction. My anxiety was really getting bad around social interactions because I literally just wasn’t seeing anyone.

Chronic health conditions impact so much of my life, it limits the time I can spend doing it. I would love to run a small business selling items but my body couldn’t cope with the work load that something like an Etsy shop would produce. I can’t do craft fayres as I couldn’t sit there all day without then being sick and exhausted for weeks after. Crafting is my life it gives me the reason to get up and keep going every morning. Without it I would be very lost. However part of crafting is sharing your triumphs and disasters. Whilst there are various Facebook groups ( some of which are very supportive, others are like a nest of vipers) it isn’t the same as actually speaking to a real live human being. I can no longer drive as I lost my driving licence 5 years ago due to my medical conditions. Public transport is too hard going for me. I rely on Mr Myasthenia Kid if I want to go anywhere so attending guild meetings hasn’t been easy due to his work schedule. I wanted something that combined my love and appreciation for all crafts and a social atmosphere. So I took the plunge.

I knew the name I wanted for the group – “The Stitchin’ Bitches”, I also knew due to the size of my house numbers would have to be limited, if anyone wanted to come at all. A friend of mine reached out regarding a crochet issue she was having, we are both self taught and only in the last few months. I casually mentioned in my response that should I start up a group for us to meet and discuss our crochet ( and other crafts) would she be interested. She almost bit my hand off, she would be extremely interested in it and what a good idea. 

Even though I had this positive response I still left it at least a week until I built up the courage to put up a post on my Facebook timeline asking if there were any like minded crafter’s like me that wanted to meet up on a monthly basis and do crafts together. Be it crochet, knitting, embroidery, sewing. I had a lot of responses but it was from people in different parts of the country saying that they wished they lived near me as they would be there like a shot. Initially responses from local friends was slow, embarrassingly so. I was starting to think that maybe there wasn’t any desire from any of my friends ( other than the first one I spoke with). Determined not to take the lack of response from my first post as the definitive answer I posted several more times. Each time I got responses from people outside the area that I lived , even the friends I have made world wide via various health forums wanted to come. But in the end I had 4 people interested which was a good number – remember I live in a tiny house.

I set up a private Facebook group for us all to be able to post in and then set up a poll so that they could let me know what days suited them best to hold a meeting. I had envisioned when I first embarked on this idea that it would be one hour a month – which for me was fine as it would give me time to recover and give me some social time. We decided Mondays were best and set the date for our very first meeting of The Stitchin’ Bitches – they all loved the name by the way! I think we sort of sound like a Country and Western group LOL!

Initially it all seemed fine until my anxiety kicked in the day before our first meeting on Monday 10th February. I was just terrified that the meeting would be a flop, that people wouldn’t speak to each other or that after 30 minutes people would be racing to get out the door. I was so anxious I barely got more than 2 hours sleep, I tossed and turned all night. This would be me hosting an event ( thankfully all my friends know I am poorly and will pitch in with making drinks etc if needed)  without my safety blanket of Mr Myasthenia Kid. Also some of the people attending I hadn’t actually seen since I left work in 2008. For me it was a huge gamble. I am always really anxious when people come to the house anyway, I worry that they think it is dirty or uncared for etc. Its hard to keep on top of stuff when you aren’t well and all the DIY stuff falls on one partner. So I know there are some places crying out to be redecorated etc. I was also worried about people judging me, on the outside I don’t look sick but every day is a battle of some sorts. I worry that people think I am taking the piss because no one ever see’s me when I am really poorly.

Monday 10th February seemed to come around so quickly. By the time 11am arrived I was pretty knackered just from the sheer anxiety creating this “event” had caused. I really shouldn’t have worried. I also wasn’t the only one who had been anxious, a friend confided in me on leaving she had been terrified to attend. As for thinking they would all be racing for the door at 11.30am nothing could have been further from the truth. It was 13.30 that the last person left and the first person had only gone around 15 minutes before that. I had been concerned due to the fact that we all had one work place in common that we would end up discussing that but again nothing could have been further from the truth. It was barely mentioned and that was only as people left. It was just so lovely to have a few hours with people whose eyes didn’t glaze over when crafts were mentioned. I know I can get very passionate about my projects, so it was nice to answer peoples questions about the techniques I had used etc. It was equally nice to see what my friends had been up to. For all of us it was so uplifting to get out of the house and socialise – obviously I didnt go far!

The really nice thing was that as the meeting / gathering was drawing to a close one of the lady’s said “Rach, any chance we can do this once a fortnight? I don’t think once a week is enough”. Everyone else was in agreement also. I said immediately that no one would “have” to come to every session especially if they felt fortnightly was too much, that I was happy for people to dip in and out as needed. But the buzz the morning had created was so great that we set up the next few weeks worth of meetings. I was so proud of myself and what our little group had achieved. I posted on my Instagram account about it and now several other people dotted around the country have decided that they are going to do the same thing. Which is really lovely as it is such a boost for your mental health and to stop the isolation that is all too common in the world.

Today (Monday 24th March) we held the second meeting and today we had the grand total of 7 people here (including me). Dembe was like a dog with two tails, with all the love and fuss he got from everyone. Today two members learned how to start to crochet – slip knot, chain stitches and then double crochet ( UK ). Another lady had a refresher on crochet and learned how to do a Granny Square for the first time. In the corner a lady was being taught to knit. Mr Myasthenia Kid is on holiday this week from work and made himself scarce for a bit having a wander around the town. However he said the buzz and positivity he got from the room when he came home was amazing. He said he was so proud of me for being so brave to try and do something to end my own social isolation. He did make us all laugh as when he walked in he said “good god is this the budget version of the Playboy mansion”. Considering our age ranges were from 21 to 70’s it was hilarious. 

We were also spoiled by a new member who brought homemade scones, jam and cream for us to have as a crafting snack! And bloody gorgeous they were too. I had decided yesterday to make everyone little paper tissue holders as a way of saying thank you for coming and making it such a success. 

I can’t lie after every meeting I have been utterly exhausted. If I knew that it wouldn’t impact my nights sleep I would go for a nap in the afternoon. Mondays after are written off with me having a lazy restful afternoon on the sofa but mentally I feel so uplifted and happy. I am so glad that I pushed myself to do something totally outside my comfort zone and I hope I inspire others to take that chance and do new things.

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On Thursday 20th February, I had the worst migraine I have ever had in my life. It was so bad that I am actually suffering from amnesia caused by it. I have “lost” most of Wednesday 19th, the majority of Thursday 20th, Friday 21st quite a bit is unrecoverable as is Saturday 22nd.  It is only from yesterday on-wards that I can recall anything that happened during the day with any clarity.  I won’t lie this has scared the shit out of me. Which is why I haven’t done a huge detailed blog post because basically I don’t know what happened to last week. I have a gp appointment booked because I need to know that this was just a horrific migraine and that I can be referred to see a headache specialist or if it was something like a TIA that can also be looked into. Having Google at our finger tips can be a curse and a blessing but as I can’t account for much of last week and this has never happened to me before with a migraine I can’t just ignore what has happened. Anyone who knows me also knows that I don’t run to the doctors every 5 minutes so it has really shit me up.

As soon as I know you will know.

Apologies

I will hold my hands up and just say it…..sorry! Due to having a migraine Monday and again Wednesday I simply forgot to write a blog post. It briefly skipped across my brain late yesterday and I thought yep I will do that and that’s as far as I got.

I’m still feeling pretty rough at 6am Thursday morning the day that this should be published. The sumatriptan works brilliantly in halting the head pain but it doesn’t stop all the other stuff that comes with them. The fatigue, the hunger that you just can’t satisfy, the neck and head pain – occipital neuralgia , the confusion just to name a few.

I may have just been very unlucky this week or I may have worked out that Dairy and Alcohol are two triggers. Both of which I am unhappy about. So now I am going to be on a detox diet from both, reminding myself when the craving strikes that both trigger migraines…..possibly.

Apologies I don’t have more for you this week.

Sumatriptan positive news

Like clockwork my migraine arrived within the predicted timescale, which is every month between 18th – 22nd. It started around midnight but as I was half asleep and I didn’t twig, I just thought maybe it isn’t as the pain wasn’t intense it just felt like my sinuses had become a bit stuffy. However by 2am it was clear with every passing minute the pain was becoming more intense. I panicked a bit thinking I may have missed my window of opportunity with the sumatriptan.

I am so thankful that I put my migraine grab bag together, it sits on a shelf beside the bed with all my medications. Inside is a bottle of water, a pint sized plastic cup, soluble paracetamol, soluble aspirin, buccastem and sumatriptan. Having it all in one place means I don’t have to fumble around trying to find various medications. It is all in one place, plonk the soluble tablets in the cup, tip in the water and then take them and the sumatriptan. Then shove the buccastem between my gum and my top lip. Turn off the bedroom light and go back to sleep. 

Migraine grab bag

Previously I would take the medication I had, then spend the next couple of hours trying in vain not to vomit them all back up. By 4.30am my migraine had subsided to just a headache and I was up chatting to Jay, having a cup of sugary tea as my sugar cravings and crazy hunger kick in straight after a migraine subsides and vomiting is no longer on the cards. I did go back to bed at around 5.30am and slept a few more hours.

I really didn’t feel well all day, quite spaced out and didn’t quite suss out that with all the drama of having a migraine I had forgotten to take my morning medications. I was quite lucky in the withdrawal symptoms weren’t that bad I just felt unwell. 

The protocol I have been following with the supplements says that you won’t notice any change in your migraines ( severity or frequency ) until you have been taking them for a period of at least 3 months. So I was expecting to have a migraine this month. I had felt the warning side of a cranky bad mood ( to me it feels like bad PMT and feeling and getting angry with inanimate objects) the day before which seems to be the only warning sign that I get.  It always seems to be the day before that this strange mood hits where nothing is right and everything is conspiring against me. I have identified this now with the last two migraines now that I am tracking them with more detail. There is no food trigger as my diet is pretty similar each day to the next. With it always being within that date range I would say that it was more than likely hormone based. Despite the fact since coming off the pill in December 2019 there has been zero sign of any menses.

My migraine tracker

As usual my memory of Saturday is pretty hazy other than the fact I was ravenously hungry all day and extremely tired. I remember Sunday which is better than normal, as usually I lose a few days worth of detailed memory. Sunday I still didn’t feel 100% and managed to pass out whilst trying to get on the floor due to feeling like I was going to faint. Resulting in a bruised bum and a Labrador sitting on me refusing to allow me to get up again until he believed it was safe for me to do so. The signal that it is safe, is Dembe going and getting me a toy from his toy box and wanting to play. Until then he will prevent me from even sitting up but sitting on my arm or throwing himself across my chest. This isn’t something we have trained him to do but something he does instinctively and I am incredibly proud of our boy.

It is fantastic news that the sumatriptan  is working so well for me and it has taken away some of the fear that had been surrounding the next migraine attack after the one in May been just so bloody awful. I am noticing with the magnesium supplement that I am sleeping an awful lot better, which is great as for the first time in years I am not spending hours awake in the middle of the night. So it is positive news on multiple fronts for a change.