Weekly roundup

The week has flown by at warp speed and I’ve way overdone it.  It started off well though with a day trip to a nature reserve in the next county.  One of my Camera club buddies was going and offered to take me with him.  I travel really badly, it was going to be a whole day of being active and to top it all my period was due, so I was anxious for days beforehand about how I’d cope but I felt the fear and did it anyway.  I’m so glad I did, because I had a fantastic day, the reserve turned out to be totally disabled friendly and I spent a whole hour photographing Otters which I’ve never managed to even see in the wild🙂

The rest of the week kind’ve went to shit though.  Literally.  Since my new toilet cistern was put in 10 days ago I’ve had horrendous sewer gases coming into the house and the smell in a morning when the windows have all been shut makes me want to gag.  I’m still waiting for the plumber to come back and he needs to get a shift on.

I use Windows 10 and it updated itself this week, re-setting everything on my machine back to factory defaults in the process.  I totally freaked when the colours on my screen went haywire, because I’d spent days when I first got my laptop tweaking them so that they fitted my photographic prints, but luckily I’d remembered to save the settings and could re-instate them.  My touchpad isn’t being recognized though, so I’ve had to send an SOS to my computer engineer.  More expense which I think Bill-sodding-Gates should pay.

My parents’ shower door came off its hinges a couple of weeks ago, so I had to contact the makers and order new parts which my Dad and I between us fitted on Tuesday.  It wasn’t a big job, but just something else that had gone wrong and needed putting right.

My Mum’s physical health has deteriorated lately and she must be bad because she’s finally agreed to have a wheelchair.  Rather than wait a month for an NHS assessment, then be given a heavy wheelchair my Dad can’t manage, I decided to just buy one off Amazon.  It came yesterday and both Mum and Dad seem happy with it.  She’s also really struggling to get her breath after doing any kind of activity now, so I’ve also made an appt with her GP to ask for a referral to the Hospital for a supplemental oxygen assessment.

Speaking of mobility equipment, I got on my Scooter last weekend and realized I had a flat tyre.  So my neighbours hauled my 18 stone (250lb) Rider onto breeze blocks for me so that I could get the tyre off and take it to town to get mended.  I still had to contact the engineer though, as the electrics on my Scooter have been constantly cutting out.  So he came on Friday morning and hopefully has sorted the problem.  Yet more expense.

As I was talking to the scooter engineer my neighbour came up and asked me if I’d “take a few snaps of his furniture”.  He runs an upholstery business and had asked me recently if I’d take some photos for a brochure “sometime”.  I agreed, but actually expected him to give me some notice not barge into a conversation and ask me to do it there and then!   Not only that, but I was still in my pyjamas and expected at my parents’ house to say goodbye to my cousin who was returning to Australia.  The upholstery guy told me the furniture was being delivered to his customer that afternoon though, so it was that morning or nothing!  Fine, it’s not like I have a life or anything.  I just lie around all day, bored and waiting to do people favours.  So I had to rudely cut short the engineer’s visit, hastily get my little photography studio ready and do the pictures (still in my pyjamas!).  I was, of course, then late to get to my parents’.  People have no idea what’s involved in taking a good photo – I think this guy just thought it would take 5 minutes when it ended up taking nearly an hour!   No thought to where the pictures will be taken, lighting, background or editing afterwards (which has taken me another hour).  And I wouldn’t care, but he’s not offered to pay me a sodding penny and has had the cheek to ask me to do some more!!!  It’s my own fault entirely though – I should just have said “no, I’m busy you will need to give me more notice”.

I’m back wearing my wellies for taking Bertie out now Autumn has arrived and kept getting my foot stuck in the right one taking them off.  I realized there was a ginormous hole in the lining that was completely un-mendable and I will need a new pair.  I virtually live in my wellies in the Winter so they have to be warm and supportive as well as waterproof – my wallet is now £75 ($91) lighter.  For wellies!  The world’s gone bloody mad!!

In between everything this week I’ve been trying to sort the garden out ready for winter, putting the furniture away in the shed and cutting all the dying perennials down before the weather turns.  I love gardening but it hates me, and my back and arms are now shredded.

Saturday I had another trip out, this time to the west of Cumbria for a county-wide photographic competition in which my camera club had entered one of my images (along with 11 others from our Club).  We came last, as we always do.  However, in our defence we enter 12 images from across the club, including our Beginner’s League.  All the other clubs just enter their 12 best pictures, which usually all come from their Advanced League.  So we don’t stand a chance, but stick to our principles of being all-inclusive.  It was a lonnnnng day, I had my period and felt dizzy before we even set off, and by the time I’d picked Bertie up from my parents in the evening and got home I felt like I was dying.

This week needs to be quiet to recuperate from so much activity, because I am absolutely and utterly exhausted and every joint I possess hurts.  Whether I’ll get it or not is a different thing entirely!

Another year of Peri

When my periods first started to change back in 2012 when I was 44 and I realized I had probably started peri-menopause, I wanted to know about other women’s experiences.  There were legions of horror stories online, very little about the positive and hardly any actual hard data.  “It’s different for everyone” was a common theme, which is all well and good but I still wanted to know what was physically happening to other women to give me some companionship in my own journey through The Change.

Being as though I didn’t find a single story which tracked progression through peri-menopause I thought I’d track my own, so began compiling data on my menstrual cycle.  I’ve been a regular 27/28 day cycle person my entire life but in 2012 my cycle length started to subtly change and I initially experienced slightly longer cycles than usual.


In 2013 things went totally haywire.  As you can see from the chart below I basically had alternating long and short cycles, with a couple of very short cycles (for me at any rate).  I had my first daytime hot flush this year, but only the one, and no other real symptoms.  I did have my hormones tested and they came back as “normal” which isn’t at all unusual in the early stages of peri-menopause.


In 2014 my cycles were still abnormal, but not quite as erratic as the year before.  Again, no other symptoms of peri-menopause that I could put my finger on.


The start of 2015 saw my cycles even out, only to become erratic again in the second half of the year.  I also saw a couple of symptoms appear – vaginal dryness around my period, which doesn’t half make your ladygarden itch and is well uncomfortable as your undies rub against your bits, and changes in my mood.  I had sudden and inexplicable rages which were absolutely overwhelming.  Having never suffered from PMT I found being so out of control of my emotions really difficult, though thankfully the emotional hooha only usually lasted a day or two around my period.


I already have a full chart for 2016 even though it’s only October because my cycle lengths have shortened so I’ve fitted in 12 periods over only 10 months.  Despite the change in length my cycles have been fairly stable, apart from one very short cycle in August.  I’ve continued to have vaginal dryness and mood changes, but not felt the dreadful rage episodes I had last year – I still have a short fuse at certain times in the month but have been able to control it.  I’ve also had some really weepy episodes and feelings of being unable to cope, usually in the few days before my period starts.


From everything I’ve read about peri-menopause, in the early stages your cycles shorten then get much longer as you finally approach Menopause.  However, the very first sign for me that I’d started the change was a slight lengthening of my cycle, and only after a full year of that did my cycles start to get shorter.

The table below summarizes the changes in my cycle length and as you can see I still appear to be in the “shorter cycle” phase:

menotableAccording to the research online, this means I’m still in the early-mid stage of Peri-menopause after 5 years!  You can see from the table that I’m progressing, but it’s painfully slow.  As you all know, because of my horrendously painful endo and adeno I’m desperate for my periods to stop but it’s still looking like a very long way off.  Somebody shoot me.

Probably because I’m still in the “early stages” I’ve not had any really troublesome symptoms and so far only had two hot flushes, though I’m assured these will increase during my final Menopause year.  I do have awful night sweats, but have had these for well over a decade so I’m not convinced they’re particularly menopause related.  Due to everything else that’s wrong with me, it’s impossible to tell if I’m more tired than usual and being as though I’ve had insomnia for 20+ years I have no idea if this has been made worse due to changes in my hormones.

With regards to bleeding, I’ve never had long bleeds – usually 3 days, followed by a couple of days of spotting – and this hasn’t changed.  I am more clotty but other than that no flooding.

So, that’s where I’m currently at.  At 49, and after 5 years of hormone changes, I honestly thought I’d be a bit further along in the process but it’s looking like I’m going to be one of those women who take 10 years to finally reach Menopause.  Bugger.  I know risks of things like osteoporosis (for which I have a very strong family history) and heart disease increase after menopause and most women want to stave it off as long as possible, but due to my horrendously painful periods I can’t wait for the 4 weekly torture to be over with.  I started my periods at the age of 11 and after 38 years of mess, pain, nausea, insomnia, diarrhea, migraines and exhaustion I’m soooooo over the whole thing.

A little perspective

As outlined in this post I’ve arranged to see a Counsellor next week for a free assessment to see if she can help me find ways of dealing with my Mum.   I find blogging about my relationship with my Mum really difficult – I tend to vent when I’m having a bad day or am frustrated with her, which gives you all a skewed view of how I truly feel or the complex nearly 50 year history we share, so while I’m not hormonal and not angry with her I thought I’d put our story into a bit of perspective.

My Mum was a wonderful parent when I was little.  She has always been incredibly maternal and I was never short of attention or affection.  She lived for her kids and I always I knew I wasn’t just loved, I was adored.  I was told I was clever and beautiful and never kept short of praise.

But my Mum does have depression.  It runs in her family, with one of her brothers and one of her sisters also suffering.  Her sister was so severe she had to have electric shock therapy.  Yet they had a really happy, if poor, childhood and no reason could be found for Mum’s depression or that of her siblings.  Now I know what I know, in particular that Mum has Mast Cell Disease caused by her faulty EDS genes, you have to wonder how much of that comes into play – I know my chronic mild depression has definitely eased since I started treating my MCAD.

Living with depression isn’t easy for the sufferer and my Mum struggles with it.  When she left my biological Dad in the 1970s anti-depressants hadn’t been invented so people with depression were given benzodiazepines, to which Mum (along with hundreds of thousands of other people at that time) became addicted.  She did get off them, but it can’t have been easy (I was only 7 at the time so knew nothing about all this until I was an adult).  She did go through a period after her divorce of drinking too much, but did eventually rain this in.  She is not a lifelong alcoholic.

She has not had a happy second marriage – I’ve no idea how both of them have stood each other for 40 years.  I think my Mum’s felt lonely her whole life and, coupled with the depression, has been desperately unhappy.  When I’m having a bad day I get really frustrated that she hasn’t asked for help, sought counselling, done volunteer work, made an effort to make more friends etc. but then I don’t walk in her shoes – we’re not the same people and have very different personalities and ways of coping.

While Mum was working and raising a family it kept her busy and she managed her depression, but this all changed after I (the last child) left home and Mum retired.  She then lost her 2 closest friends, and then both of her sisters and I think the loneliness just became too much and her depression spiralled.  Add to this her increasingly poor health and the last 10 years in particular have seen her basically go under.

Her alcoholism started 5 years ago after her lung surgery.  She’s been on antidepressants for 20 years now, but really needed more help than just popping a few pills.  She needed someone to talk to, but is a very private person so would never have requested to see a therapist or gone if I’d arranged it.   Which makes me frustrated as hell.

She isn’t some awful abusive monster.  Well, actually she is these days…..but it hasn’t always been that way.  I feel very sad for her for the most part – she’s never been happy, she basically lost her first born child and didn’t have any contact with him for 30 years (very long story, not my Mum’s fault in any way) and has always been fundamentally lonely.  However, knowing all that in my head doesn’t make my heart any the less hurt now she’s an alcoholic and behaves in ways that I don’t even recognise.  She’s no longer my Mum.  She’s selfish and self-absorbed.  She’s a bully and can be nasty.  She is disinterested in life.  She is confused and forgetful.  I can no longer have the conversations we used to have.  I no longer tell her my news.  I don’t have her to lean on or share my problems with.  She is absoluely emotionally unavailable.  And it breaks my heart.

And that heartbreak is what you read here on my blog.  You don’t read about how supportive she has always been of me, particularly when I was very ill with M.E.  You don’t read about how she’s always financially helped me out.  You don’t read about the fact she never missed a single thing I did at school, or how she taught me to drive, or how she helped get my first boyfriend a job, or how she let my friend stay with us when she was having problems getting on with her Dad.  Or any of the other ways in which she’s been a great Mum.  She’s not been perfect by a long chalk, but then she’s had mental health issues her whole life and, as a grown-up, I know how hard that must have been (which doesn’t negate the affect her depression had on me).

This blog exists for me to rant about stuff I don’t feel I can rant about in real life, and for the most part it’s been helpful in that respect.  If I snapped at my Mum every time I felt like snapping at my Mum we would have stopped speaking years ago, so letting off steam through my blog helps me maintain a relationship with my Mum despite very difficult circumstances.  However, if blogging has taught me anything it’s not to make snap judgements about people or their situations.  Relationships are complex things, particularly between a parent and child, and you’re not going to get the nuances of a 49 year history through a couple of ranty blog posts when I’m exhausted, hormonal, having a shit day and am at the end of my tether.

My Mum is 76 years old and slowly dying.  She’s not going to change now.   She’s not going to leave my step-Dad and she’s now not well enough to get out to do anything or meet new people (even if she wanted to, which she doesn’t).  She doesn’t want to stop drinking and her depression has gone largely untreated her entire adult life.  The only thing which is going to change is my attitude, which is what I’m hoping to achieve through the Counselling – looking at ways to help me cope with the final few years of my Mum’s life.  I don’t want my entire 50 year relationship with her to be defined by the last 10 years of her life and I don’t want her to die with me hating or resenting her, forgetting all the love and friendship we used to share.



After the tiff with my Mother the other day I was pretty upset.  My period is due, I feel like crap both physically and emotionally, and am really struggling with her alcoholism.  I googled help for families of alcoholics and could find nothing other than Al Anon (there was legions of help for the actual alcoholic though, which is great but it’s not the alcoholic who has to live with the fallout from their disease, it’s the people around them – the alcoholic is so high most of the time their life is just a blur).  However, the nearest Al Anon meeting is an hour’s drive away and I’m not well enough to do that every week.

So, I’m considering some counselling.  I want to choose someone in the next town though, as I don’t want to see someone locally only to bump into them in the supermarket knowing they know every intimate detail about my life.  There is a counsellor who used to work at the local Hospice who looks well qualified and experienced, but I don’t know whether I need a Psychologist rather than “just” a Counsellor.  My history goes something like this:

  • Perfect childhood until the age of 7 when my Mum left my Dad out of the blue.
  • Taken away from everything and everyone I knew, moved 200 miles to live with a grandparent who used to hit me.  Mum was clinically depressed, drank too much and was addicted to prescription Valium.  Moved 9 times in the next 2 years, couch surfing with various relatives.
  • Started being bullied at school, which went on for the next 10 years.
  • Mum met and married my step-dad but their relationship was volatile from the start, including daily rows and the odd plate throwing.  I never knew what the atmosphere at home would be like from one day to the next.  This was all kept a secret though and to the outside world my parents were really nice – my school friends were all jealous that I had such a “lovely Mum”.
  • Repeatedly sexually assaulted by my step-brother aged 9-10.
  • Sexually assaulted at the age of 11 by a neighbour.
  • Became clinically depressed around the age of 13 but this wasn’t recognized in children in those days.  Woke every day for 4 years wishing I were dead.
  • My saving grace was my boyfriend, who was three years older than me.  We were together for 4 years until he dumped me on New Year’s Eve when I had just turned 17 – turned out he was seeing someone else.
  • Had a mini-breakdown aged 18 and dropped out of school.  Spent 9 months barely leaving the house – put on antidepressants and saw a Clinical Psychologist for a year who was really helpful.
  • Met my future husband aged 19.  He was dominating and critical, just like my biological dad.  Married at the age of 21 and my husband became much more controlling and mentally abuse, eventually alienating me from my family and friends.  Thankfully I came to my senses and divorced him.
  • Went to work abroad aged 23, which is where I caught the virus which lead to my M.E.
  • Came home and met my next boyfriend, who was lovely in most respects other than he flirted with anything with a pulse and was highly critical of my appearance – which did nothing for my self-esteem.
  • Developed ME aged 26 and spent the next 10 years bedridden and alone.  Boyfriend was dumped as he couldn’t cope with me being sick.
  • Lived alone for the next 20 years.
  • After going through the Menopause, my Mum became increasingly verbally abusive to my Dad and a very angry person (though she hid this behaviour in public and I was still constantly told how lucky I was to have such a lovely Mum).  Our previously close relationship started to deteriorate.
  • Just as my ME was starting to improve, my Ehlers-Danlos and Mast Cell Disease kicked off.  Yay.
  • Mum had lung surgery in 2011.  She had to give up her 20 a day cigarette habit so took to drinking instead, along with taking 16 prescription drugs a day.
  • She then had a heart attack in 2013 and now needs constant care, provided solely by me and my Dad.
  • Dad recently diagnosed with Dementia.
  • I’m now in peri-menopause and finding it hard to cope with my hormones, health, Dad’s Dementia and Mum’s health and alcoholism.

I know there are people who have lives much worse than mine, and I do my best to just get on with it and not wallow in self pity, but even I have to admit there are times I struggle and I think I need the perspective of a trained Counsellor to help me navigate the next few years.  Waking up in the morning and actually wishing your parent would hurry up and die so you didn’t have to cope with their crap any more is not good.  Therapy is expensive though and at £35 a session I can probably only afford to see a Counsellor twice a month, which isn’t ideal.

I still can’t decide whether to see a Psychologist or a Counsellor.  Counsellors have a tendency to listen then just repeat your problems back to you in the hopes you’ll find your own solution, which isn’t what I need.  But I still think the Counsellor who used to work at the Hospice would be good to see, as I know I’m already grieving for my Mum (despite the fact she’s still alive) plus obviously I have my own health problems which this particular Counsellor would be used to dealing with.  She offers a free first consultation, so maybe I’ll go along for that and see if we click.  She also does telephone appts which is great and means I don’t have to travel to see her if I’m not well enough on a particular day.

I recognise that my life is challenging and that I’m struggling.  Reaching out for help is important and the Psychologist I saw when I was 18 turned my life around.  I don’t want to become depressed again and need some new coping skills and ways of navigating the caring role I now face with my parents (which I’m finding difficult when I spend days basically hating my Mother).  I’ll let you know how I get on.

Weekly roundup

I’ve had a brilliant week and all Dad-related.  I entered a portrait I’d taken of him in the first Camera Club League competition of the season and it only went and won :-)  I hadn’t even told him I’d entered it, because I’m new to photographing people so haven’t a clue what I’m doing, plus this year I’ve been promoted to the Intermediate League and face stiff competition from some really good photographers so didn’t expect to get anywhere and I didn’t want to disappoint him if the picture did badly.  So my Dad’s face was priceless when I told him the news and to add icing to the cake I also got 2nd place with my photo of the Swallows:

Thursday was a big day, as my Dad was having his driving exam following his dementia diagnosis.  It’s been 60 years since he took his last test and things have changed ever so slightly in the meantime!  He had to do a written, oral and practical exam which took 2½ hours.  And bless his heart he passed with flying colours :-)  I’m not even sure I’d pass a modern-day driving test so he did brilliantly :-)  This means he can continue on driving and we can all breathe a sigh of relief as there is zero public transport where we live.

Friday morning we got the results of his tests with the Older People’s Clinical Psychologist – in other words, we were finding out whether or not he has Alzheimer’s Disease.  And he hasn’t – yipppeeee!!  For now he only has issues with his memory, verbal skills and concentration so I’m just chuffed that his personality and behaviour won’t be affected.

It’s been an incredibly stressful year from our first seeing his GP with our concerns about his memory to his final diagnosis, but I can honestly say the NHS staff have been superb and really lovely people to deal with.  They are going to re-assess Dad every 6 months as they need to monitor the progress of his dementia and whether or not it is developing into Alzheimer’s, but for now at least we can all relax *breathe out Jak*🙂

I wish I could say I’d had a good week with my Mum too, but I’d be lying.  As my readers who live with an alcoholic family member can testify, you constantly walk round them on egg shells.  You never know what mood they’ll be in, how drunk they will be, how tetchy, whether they’ll think what you have to say is funny or have a go at you.  Both my Dad and I let slide 90% of the shite that comes out of my Mum’s mouth, but every now and again she goes too far and I feel I have to say something.  I don’t know why I bother, though, because it never ends well – my Mum can dish out criticism left, right and centre but can’t take it.

My step-dad has 3 Grandchildren who call my Mum Nanna.  She has been with my Step-Dad for 40 years so as far as the Grandkids are concerned she is their Nan (and to be fair, they’ve seen a darn sight more of my Mum than their biological Nanna).  My Mum took care of them when they were pre-school, was there for the birth of the eldest, and has always done everything a biological Nanna does including picking them up from school when they were ill and taking them for trips out.  But when talking to other people she always says “I don’t have any Grand-children.  My husband has three” which I find deeply upsetting.  Her step-grandkids think of her as their Nanna – period.  And if they were ever to overhear her saying she had no Grandkids I think they’d be really hurt.  So I voiced my concerns to her yesterday.  She was very defensive and said “well I don’t have any Grandkids!”  So I tried to explain that although she doesn’t have any biological Grandchildren genes aren’t the be all and end all, and the kids think of her as their Nan but she got all huffy and was determined that she’d said nothing wrong, so I just left it.  As I walked away though I heard her say under her breath “piss off!” and she’s still being arsy with me 24 hours later.

I swear to God there are days I just want to tell her to get stuffed.  I wonder if she realizes quite how much I dread going to see her, what a cow she can be or how little fun she is to be around.  She should be sodding grateful she has such a good husband, daughter and step-grandchildren all of whom visit her regularly.  But of course she’s not.  I wouldn’t care, but until 5 years ago she had absolutely no clue where her biological son was living as he hadn’t been in touch with her for donkeys years so even if he’d had kids she would never have even seen them!  People are strange, and my Mum is stranger than most.  The bonds of love have nothing to do with genetics.

I finally got my ESA forms finished and posted which is another weight off my mind.  The form itself is 20 pages long, I sent 26 typed A4 pages with it and 6 supporting medical letters – if that’s not enough for me to qualify for a lousy £100 a week I give up!  Honest to God, the hoops you have to go through you’d think I was asking for thirty grand a year!

The world’s gone mad

You know you’re getting old when you frequently say to your friends “the world’s gone bloody mad!” and shake your head in despair.  Who on God’s green earth is voting for Trump my American friends?  How did he even get to be the Presidential candidate?  I can’t believe that out of 300 million people he’s the best the Republican party can come up with.

Things are no better this side of the Pond.  I’m sick of hearing about the economic fallout of Brexit.  In fact I’m fed up of hearing about Brexit full stop.  Tourism has risen by 18% this year due to the weak pound, which as far as I can tell is a good thing.  The FTSE100 (the UK’s top 100 companies) is at a nearly record high.   Yes there are downsides to a weak pound, but it’s not all doom and gloom – yet doom and gloom is all that’s ever reported.  Right from the start the media has been determined that Brexit is a bad thing – god forbid they should ever report in a balanced and unbiased way.

There’s still debate in the UK about whether we should be leaving the EU at all.  The Guardian did a piece this week entitled something like “what about the 48% of people who didn’t vote for Brexit?”.  Well, what about them?!  It’s a democratic vote and someone has to loose.  Get over it you whining bastards.  We voted to leave and we are leaving.  FFS!  Why are all these people wasting their breath talking about staying in the EU.  We’re not staying in the EU and if we did it means Democracy is dead.

However, it’s not just the UK that’s having a hissy fit over Brexit.  The French President has said that Britain must be punished for leaving the EU.  Er, attitudes like that are one of the main reasons Britain left!  He’s acting like a god-damn Mafia boss – “leave our gang and you’re dead”.  It’s crazy behaviour.  He wants to send a message to other EU members that leaving is not an option.  Why is leaving not an option?  Surely we can all do whatever the fuck we like – he’s acting like a Fascist.  Isn’t that how the World Wars started – some European Dictator telling the rest of us how to live and if we don’t join his gang he’ll annihilate us?

We import more than we export by quite a wide margin, so if the UK economy crashes most of Europe will suffer because we won’t be buying anything they’re making.  In light of this, quite why Europe is so determined to make Britain fail as a result of Brexit, thereby shooting themselves in the foot, I can’t work out.  Today there is a big row going on between European conglomerate Unilever and Tesco supermarket.  Unilever have put the price of their goods up by 10%, blaming Brexit and the weak pound for the hike.  But some of their goods, like Marmite, are sodding well made in the UK not Europe!  And while some ingredients in some products are made abroad, the ingredients of Marmite are not!  Unilever are just trying it on and I hope Tesco sticks to their guns and stops selling their stuff – I’d happily buy an own brand in support of their stance.

France is irritating me for all sorts of reason lately.  They’ve said that after Brexit they will wash their hands of the migrant problem at Calais and just let them all cross into Britain.  Here’s the thing about the migrant problem at Calais – these people are not asylum seekers, they are economic migrants.  They are in France illegally and therefore should be arrested in France and either detained or sent home, or whatever it is the French do with illegal immigrants.  It is not Britain’s problem – they are not breaking UK law.  The migrants could live and work in France so why aren’t they doing that through the proper legal channels?  If all they want is a better life why aren’t they trying to achieve that in France (or any of the several other countries they crossed to get to France)?

Our new Prime Minister Teresa May is under fire from all directions.  Even she daren’t mention the Elephant in the room, which is uncontrolled immigration.  You dare to mention that and you’re immediately racist and xenophobic.  You dare to mention that and immediately there’s hysterical talk of closing borders and not allowing anyone in or out, which is bloody ridiculous.  There’s immediately talk of how much immigrants contribute to the country and how much we need them, which we do in certain industries.  However, uncontrolled economic migration (which is not the same as asylum seekers from Syria or elsewhere, Jaysus I wish people would get that straight in their heads!) is the main reason more than half the country voted to leave the EU – we can’t ignore that.  We have to have the conversation without being labelled as racist.  We have to talk about our housing crisis.  About our over-crowding and the fact it takes 2 months to get to see your GP.  We have to talk about our crumbling roads and our nearly 2 million unemployed – lazy buggers who need to be made to do the jobs unskilled immigrants do, like pick fruit.  We have to talk about our failing NHS and our bursting at the seams education system.  We have to talk about the size of our tiny island and how constantly allowing 100,000 more people to live here every year is unsustainable.  It doesn’t make us racist, it makes us realistic.

We really need a wider discussion about controlling our population, but even I’m not brave enough to broach that subject!

I can’t imagine living in a country with no green spaces.  Where every inch of green land has been built on.  Where wildlife doesn’t exist except for rats, pigeons and foxes because there is no natural environment left for them.  And that’s the way we’re going here if we keep building and building and building on our tiny island to accommodate an uncontrolled population.  I’d die inside if I lived in a concrete jungle with no quiet space or means of being alone.  As it is, even where I live which is considered to be “sparsely populated” (and I use that term loosely) there is absolutely nowhere you can go these days to get away from other people.  Where you’re not sitting quietly by a river and some arsehole doesn’t fly past in a car with his stereo booming out full blast.  Where you can sit quietly to read a book without a fucking Lear jet flying overhead so low you can see the whites of the pilot’s eyes.  There is no escape.  Not anymore.  And that negatively affects people’s mental health.

We live in a fabulous country which is the envy of the world.  Is it all sweetness and light?  No, of course not.  But I am sick to the back teeth of being bombarded with negative shite all the time.  It’s such a quintessentially British thing to do – ignore everything great and everything we do well and focus on the crap.  Us Brits are fabulous at whinging and constantly bringing ourselves down and it has to stop.

Seasonal flares

Ever since I developed M.E. (which as you know I think is a type of mast cell disease) I’ve gone downhill in Autumn.  I’m allergic to Birch pollen so can understand why I often feel rough in Spring as the Birch season begins, but I’ve never understood the Autumn flare.

My histamine is definitely high and last night I was woken at 1am with a mast attack.  I haven’t had a night-time mast attack in ages so quite what set this one off is anyone’s guess.  I had palpitations, tingling buzzing pins and needles all over my body, anxiety, stomach cramps, painful muscle spasms in my back, reflux and generally felt antsy.  If I could tolerate anti-histamines I would have taken some, but as I can’t I just put the telly on, made hot water bottles for my back and stomach, and rode it out finally dropping back off to sleep some time after 3am.

I’ve known for a few weeks now that my histamine levels are high.  My nose is both bunged up and runny, which is something I get in Spring but what on earth could be giving me hay fever in autumn when everything’s dying is a mystery.  My reflux is troublesome, my back painful, I’m weeing a lot including having to get up in the night (which these days I don’t normally ever have to do), my sleep is rubbish (which again is unusual), I’m very brain fogged, my scalp is itching like crazy (which it hasn’t done for years now) and I feel constantly hyper which is exhausting as my body never fully relaxes (although on the plus side I’m getting a lot of jobs done!).

I have been stressed for the past month due to my ESA form, but these flares happen every Autumn so there’s definitely something seasonal going on.  I can’t even blame the weather, which has been unusually mild, calm and relatively warm for October.

Last night’s attack could be hormone related of course, as my periods are now erratic although I’m only on day 19 of my cycle.  However, I’ve had several 21 and 23 day cycles in the past couple of years so maybe this month The Curse will arrive early.  Peri-menopause symptoms are similar to mast cell symptoms with the palpitations, sweating, anxiety, night-time weeing and waking, though they don’t cause hay fever symptoms or hives so I can still tell my mast cells are also playing up.  The combination of the two though won’t be doing me any favours.

I get a bit anxious when I don’t know what’s causing a flare and, as my high histamine level is already causing anxiety, I’m finding that tough to deal with.  When flares like this happen it just rams home that my mast cells are The Boss and pull all the strings and that’s a bit scary for a control freak like me who likes to think she’s in charge ;-)  I’m sure it’ll settle down and in the meantime I’ll just have to wipe my nose, platt my legs and get on with it.