Family Moving In!

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Well, that was a blow! It’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve just had a very long phone call with my son, Tom. He was married about 16 years ago and had two children, but that didn’t work out, and he split up with Karen after ten miserable years together. Since then, he’s been in a relationship with a woman called Kim, but that’s not working out either (after six years). Tom and Kim had bought a big house between them as Tom has got my two youngest grandchildren, aged nine and seven. I call them my ‘little ones’ because my daughter and son-in-law have ‘my girls’ who are older. Kim has three much older girls still living at home. As a Mum, I sensed something was wrong quite some time ago. I hadn’t said anything, but Tom just called to say they’re definitely splitting up. The house will have to be sold.

Tom had a question to ask me. In fact, it was a huge ask. He said the big house would have to be sold so that he and Kim could afford to each find somewhere smaller for themselves. Until then, he can’t stay in the house with Kim as they’re not getting on well at all.

“Can the children and I come and stay with you for a few months, please?” I wasn’t expecting that! I’ve been living alone very happily for many years, and as much as I’d love to see more of them, I need and enjoy my space and privacy. I like that it gives me plenty of time to do some studying and writing. What on Earth do I say? We talked at length; “Can I think about this for a couple of days, please, Tom”? Tom was willing to do that, naturally. I love them all very dearly, but suddenly going from living alone to having the house occupied by family will be a bit of a shock, to say the least.

There’ll be a whole heap of things that will have to happen first if I agree. They’ll have to sleep in the spare room and the junk storage room. They’ll need clearing out, decorating, carpeting and new beds and furnishings to make it habitable. They haven’t been touched for decades. The garage will have to be cleared of ‘stuff’ so that Tom has some space to store furniture etc. It’s going to be chaos. I hate having decorators in because of all the mess too.

I’ve now got a couple of days to think about all this. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s come like a bolt out of the blue. Tom is an adult, so I didn’t ever expect to be playing the role of Mum again. I’m not sure I can go ahead with it, but what else do I do?

FIRST DAY COLLEGE TRIGGER

I have to say, having completed my first full day at college plus travelling (by wheelchair), I’d forgotten how exhausting it all is, having not done it for many years. I got caught in the rush-hour. I haven’t had the ‘pleasure’ of that for years, thankfully!

I arrived at college early so had time to have a much-needed coffee which always calms me down if I’m feeling anxious (I know that goes against all the health guidelines about caffeine but it works for me!). The course started at 10am. It was really strange being amongst other people in a learning environment. It’s been many years  since I’ve been in a classroom of any type. I took notes on my laptop because of my physical inability to write. The topic was interesting…Food and Mood of which, having been anorexic, I thought I was an expert on! But this wasn’t about calories and kilos but about the chemical changes that take place in your brain and how that ties in with nutrition. There was only five of us given that a couple of people were away sick and another couple had backed out at the last moment. I was pleased in a way as I find working in a large group too impersonal.

college

We stopped for a lunch break and I got chatting to two of the other students over coffee (and a banana, my lunch!). We got on really well and swapped phone numbers so we could stay in touch and in fact, I have already spoken to one of the girls from there this evening which was nice.

Then came the afternoon group (a totally different ‘kettle of fish’ altogether). I felt intimidated both by the size of the class and also by the tutor who seemed very unapproachable and obviously  wasn’t used to working in a mental health environment despite the fact we were studying NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which is a type of therapy or way of managing life. Useful? Yes. Interesting? Yes. Interaction between students and rapport with tutor? No.

We were working through several leaflets, handouts and books, breaking NLP down into various sections. I found it quite fascinating and could connect with most of what was being said or studied. But suddenly i was overcome and shocked by a flood of unexpected feelings which left me completely paralyzed and locked in my own little world. Why? Because we’d turned the page and the not-so-approachable tutor announced that we were going to talk about triggers!! She was apparently referring to positive triggers like evocative memories of music, smell, feelings etc. I was ‘gone’ by then….flashbacks flooded through me, memories of abuse including smell, touch etc suffocated me. She mentioned pleasant scenes from the past being positive but all that was going through my head by then were very negative, abusive, terrifying scenes from the past. I found myself holding my breath; my eyes welling up; my body shaking and then the PTSD took over and I had a full-blown panic attack followed by uncontrollable sobbing.

post-traumatic-stress

I managed to wheel out of there into the kitchen, swiftly followed by one of the students I’d got chatting to earlier who made me a coffee and sat with me for a while, for which I was very grateful. I couldn’t go back in to rejoin the class though as I was too shaken. I really hadn’t foreseen that one coming. However, on a positive note, I’m not giving up. I’m going back on Thursday to have another go, including tackling the NLP group as this time I will be prepared, just in case, although the centre of the topic will have probably moved on by then but if not, I will stay with it and not let my abusers prevent me from furthering my education as they did as a child.

I will have a future and move on from being held back by my past. I will not let those bastards win. This time, I will beat them!