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The Dude

I was physically shaking.

I could hardly breathe. My vision was blurred. I felt consumed and as though I was drunk with alcohol. Funny thing was I hadn’t had a drink in years. I only ever used to have a few drinks for social reasons, I have never had an alcohol problem.

I was lying in bed and the room was spinning and I could not stop shaking. I tried to cry, I didn’t know what was happening. No tears would come out. My breathing shallowed. I thought I was going to pass out.

What I was having was a massive anxiety and a panic attack.

I became pregnant. A wonderful exciting time, I could not wait to be a mum.

5 or 6 weeks into the pregnancy I was bedridden. Completely knocked out. I was sick, really sick. All day and all night but I knew that there was more to this illness. I couldn’t sleep, eat, drink, my body was on overdrive. I had so much energy but could not get out of bed to utilize it. I was losing weight, a serious amount. Whilst most people put on weight during pregnancy I was losing it daily.

I dropped to 7 stone. I had seen doctors, specialists and consultants for tests, advice and help. They found nothing.

The little life in me was fighting. A fighter already.

Then I thought, I am really struggling here, I can’t do this but I have to for my fighter, I went one last time to the emergency nurse. She looked genuinely concerned. She ticked some blood test boxes, then for no reason she looked at me and ticked one more.

That extra box was the answer. It found what the issue was. I was suffering from hyperactivity of the thyroid. My body had been suffering from a massive and constant adrenaline rush but because I was so physically sick, I was exhausted and hyper at the same time.

I had a perfect child born by C-section. My body was exhausted. I hadn’t hardly slept for 9 months before hand. Then my little fighter was up 4 or 5 times a night for a feed. His dad said after a few days, I can’t help you, I can’t do this, you’ll have to do this on your own.

I did, obviously I did. The love I felt for my baby was overwhelming, I admired him already for being such a fighter and dealing with all the meds that I had as they went through him too. Before he was born the consultants said they didn’t know if the baby would be ok. I said he’s coming out whatever.

So my fighter grew strong, he continued to be up 4 or 5 times a night for four years. I couldn’t sleep.

One day he started to fit. A full on convulsion. His eyes rolled to the back of his head, his body shook uncontrollably, he did not respond.

The paramedics were there in minutes.

He was hooked up to all kinds of machines in my lounge. He didn’t respond. His heartbeat was slow. So slow. In hospital he woke up. I held him in my arms for hours. He tried to walk several times. He kept collapsing. All his muscles were physically exhausted from the fit. He was scared and didn’t understand what happened.

These fits continued for years. I nearly lost him 3 times. I used to check on him up to 10-12 times a night, I’d sleep on the floor in his bedroom.

So my panic attacks started. I’d never had them before.

After that I would have anxiety every day. I struggled to leave the house. My child still did not sleep, when he did I was so on the edge I couldn’t. Lack of sleep is a form of torture.

His dad didn’t help. He worked 14 hour days and lived his life separately, although was always there to play and do the fun things with his child. I was verbally abused and told I was lazy if I hadn’t done a 2nd or 3rd load of washing. He started telling me I was fat and unattractive. He no longer found me physically attractive.

I was working too. Whatever I did was not enough. I felt like a failure.

We suddenly were back at hospital as he had cracked his head open badly, he was terrified looking at the blood pouring out. He hated his scar. I tell him its cool and his Harry Potter scar! I’ve learnt now that positivity in children helps them flourish.

He started school. I was told by his teacher that he is the most hyper active in the class and the hardest to keep still! Although they think he’s a wonderful, popular and happy boy. I think his hyperactivity has a lot to do with my medication and overactive thyroid during pregnancy. He was doing well health wise and had started sleeping through the night. After 4 years! I started sleeping and began to feel as though I was a normal human being again.

I needed a new challenge. Maybe I needed a form of escape. I enrolled in a full-time Degree course, whilst working full time too.

I loved it but had to face a massive challenge of driving to uni in the city. I associate driving with my son’s fits. He had one once whilst I was driving and I couldn’t pull over as I was on a busy main road. I had a panic attack when he did. Anxiety was now part of my daily routine, I hated it. I hated myself for being so weak and allowing this issue to control my daily routine.

I was working full time in a very deprived area. The class I was in was eventful every day. Chairs being thrown, windows being smashed, children of a young age using swear words that would shock anyone. The job itself was not an issue, it was exhausting but rewarding.

Then my world fell apart. My son, my little fighter, was diagnosed with a rare crumbling bone disease, found by accident as they suspected he had a fractured foot. The x-ray picked up bones that had disintegrated away. He was in pain. He was put in a cast and then we were constantly at hospital. Regular appointments, x-rays and consultant visits. Trouble was the disease was so rare, they knew nothing about it. I was telling them what it was and how to treat it.

I quit my job to look after him.

I had a hyperactive child, who I had to keep still, rest, he was not allowed to do sport, run or even cycle. He was in wheelchairs and buggies to avoid putting pressure on his foot. I massaged him and stretched him every day, he loved that. We still do it now.

I was in my final year of my degree.

Headaches started to kick in, daily. God, they hurt. Stress headaches. I was prescribed amitriptyline and Prozac. I don’t like taking medicine. I took them as I thought they’d help.

I was in a dark place.

Everything started to go black. It was the tablets, I knew it was. My breathing shallowed and slowed. I felt a sense of calm. Too calm.

My eyes were open but everything was black. Black surrounded me. Total darkness. This is it, I thought. My life is leaving me. Out of the darkness was a tiny circle. Far away from me like the light at the end of a tunnel. There was a face there. It was colourful. It was my sons face.

I started to cry.

I spoke to god. I never speak to God. I said “if you get me through tonight, get these tablets out my system I will live. My son needs me. I need to be there for him. He needs me. Please help me.”

That was the light. At some point, everybody sees the light. That was it for me.

I woke up strong. Really strong. I knew what I wanted. I knew I had so much to achieve and accomplish. I was on a new-found mission. My life had hit rock bottom but I had a reason to succeed. My son.

My son was rushed to hospital again. His appendix had inflamed and he required immediate surgery. He was screaming in agony. Watching your child go under general anesthetic is the same, pretty much exactly the same as me watching my son when I nearly lost him three times. It’s scary. Again, he recovered and recovered well.

I finished my Degree, well, really well. My little fighter after 2 years was discharged, fully recovered from his crumbling bone disease. He had beaten it. Perfect. I’m in awe of him.

My relationship with his dad was over. It had been over for years. While going through all this, I was consistently told I wasn’t good enough, ugly, didn’t do enough, basically I wasn’t enough. Not really sure wasn’t good enough…caring for my poorly boy 24/7 as his dad couldn’t and didn’t want to do it; working full time; running and cleaning the house; paying half the bills and all the holidays. I’d had enough. I wanted out. I was done.

That was it, another light. Someone who puts you down every day, doesn’t create balance or help is not a partner. Life is tough, I get it. It takes 3 seconds to send a text saying, “I’m really busy but I can’t wait to see you later.” Weird thing was he said he loved me and wanted me to stay. I said you’ve had chances over and over, I’m done. The anxiety went too. Enough said.

My son is a fighter.

I am a fighter.

Help is there, look for it. No one is ever alone.

Life is about fighting daily challenges with confidence, succeeding in any task no matter how big or small and being happy. Life is fast.

I’m living now, really living.

The future is unwritten but it’s going to be good, really good.

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