My Not So Secret Diary


Quiet antidepressants working to help calm my anxiet, out for a run in Cornwall on a sunny day in quarantine for covid-19 and coronavirus, writing for my blog My Not So Secret Diary about sobriety and mental health
Mid-run selfie!

A month or so ago I finally gave in and admitted I needed some help with my anxiety. I’ve done everything I can by myself, but it’s exhausting to keep having to fight my mind at every turn. It can be something insignificant, or just a change in situation, but my mind circles and worries and blows things out of proportion escalating to panic attacks at times. I’ve always been interested in alternative therapies and actually trained as a holistic therapist years ago. Since giving up alcohol, I’ve tried to employ all manner of alternative ways of defusing my anxiety and keeping my mind calm. You name it, I’ve tried it, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, oils, crystals, walking, running, everything. They all help a little, but nothing takes the edge off my busy mind like wine used to.

Really, I should have gone a long time ago, but I don’t really trust doctors so I avoid at all costs if I can. Past experience has taught me that they don’t always listen and they don’t always help. However, I saw a physiotherapist a few months ago who suggested I saw someone about my mental health. She could clearly see I was struggling and I hadn’t expected that. She pointed out that I had a lot of coping strategies in place, and when they weren’t there, I struggled more. I listened but dismissed her. On my next appointment she suggested it again, and again I thanked her and told her I was okay. She was keen for me to see someone, so I felt it was easier to discontinue my appointments with her. Not long after, I had a phone call from the doctors surgery, asking me to make an appointment to follow up from a letter from the physio. I made the appointment, but cancelled it not long after, not wanting to waste it if someone else needed it.

Deciding I needed to finally address things I phoned and asked to see my doctor who was of course fully booked for the following two months. I explained to the receptionist about the physio referring me, and promptly burst into tears which I hadn’t expected. It takes a lot for me to ask for help and I find it so hard, so it makes me emotional. Anyway, the poor receptionist then conjured up a new appointment for me. My doctor is lovely, and was really helpful towards the end of my drinking, she was the one who prescribed my Antabuse which helped me finally kick it. Although it was a way off, it was a relief having the appointment, but of course, as I do, I began to convince myself that I didn’t really need it and that I was wasting their time. Usually I would have cancelled it, but this time I didn’t. The night before, I was certain I should cancel it, but I still didn’t. So I went. I waited for the doctor to tell me I was being silly, that I didn’t need anything to help me along, that maybe it was all in my head. But she didn’t. She listened and she seemed to understand.

I explained how things have been since I stopped drinking. How I am so much better, but I still have so far to go, that I don’t want to worry about ridiculous things that aren’t even going to happen, but it’s like my mind needs to. That sometimes it runs away with me. She didn’t judge and she didn’t tell me I was silly.

When I had my laser eye surgery last year, my surgeon recommended I take Diazepam for the day. It’s something I’ve been prescribed in the past before as a relaxant for the muscles in my neck which I damaged a long time ago but I don’t take, as I know how addictive they are and it frightens me. I don’t quite trust myself, given my history, so I prefer not to risk it. I did however take it on the day of my surgery and I was amazed at the effect it had on me. I still felt like me, just a calmer me. I expected to feel more out of it, and I was happy that I didn’t. That was one of the things that made me think going to the GP might be useful, that maybe there was a medication that could help. That was in November, but it took me until March to actually get there. The doctor understood my worries and offered me a few options of things. Apparently beta blockers can take away the physical symptoms of panic attacks, but I think now I’ve got a fairly good handle on that side of things, it’s just my mind that is too busy. So she went through some others, all non-addictive ones, so I don’t have to worry and then gave me a prescription.

It was so nice to finally be heard. I’ve asked for help from the doctors over the years and been brushed off. I told her that nothing quietened my mind like wine did and she listened, she didn’t tell me to pull myself together or any of that crap and it made me feel better.

So, we’ll see how it does. What I can tell you is that my mind currently feels the most quiet it has in a long time. I can concentrate on the TV again or on reading, without my mind wandering off somewhere else. I feel like me, just more relaxed. I’m glad I went before this whole crisis kicked off, it’s certainly helping me keep calmer! It’s good. So I hope it lasts. I’ll let you know.

Thanks as always.


Quarantine (of sorts)

Quarantine (of sorts) standing on my head, headstand in yoga while out on a run during the coronavirus and covid-19 lockdown in Cornwall in the sunshine My Not So Secret Diary
Outdoor yoga is so good!

Yesterday was my first ‘proper’ day of quarantine. It’s been a bit weird to be honest. It feels like a holiday because I’ve got all the kids at home and yet, there’s this uneasy feeling of what is going to happen at work. I know we aren’t the only ones in this situation, it’s just a worry when you have a business you’ve worked hard for and then things are taken out of your control.

On the other side of it, with everything being cancelled, I suddenly have a lot less demands on me and my time. There’s no work, no school, no nursery, no running track twice a week, no dentist, no orthodontist and no hairdresser, and that’s just the cancellations for this week and next week! In some ways, it is a relief. Not that I’m complaining, it’s just I always have so many things on, and now I don’t.

My anxiety means that I often worry until I’ve ticked off the things on my list each day. It’s an imaginary list of things like emptying the dishwasher, hoovering the whole house and sorting the washing. I feel like these things have to be done and until they are I can’t go to work, and I can’t quite relax. Logically I know it’s daft, but that doesn’t change the way I feel. It is quite annoying but I’ve come to accept it’s part of me, and nowadays it’s just easier to do the things I know will make me feel better. Call it a coping strategy if you like, but it works for me. (Most of the time.)

Anyway obviously yesterday was the first day of a different way of living for a while. It was strange, because I really feel like a pressure has been lifted. We didn’t need to set an alarm for one thing. Of course that meant little man was awake in the night, which he never normally is, and we were both wide awake way before the alarm would have gone off. I woke the kids up, asking Katie if she needed to sign into her virtual lessons to be reminded it was Wednesday, a day she doesn’t normally have lessons. I actually managed to ask her that three times, clearly, I’m having trouble keeping track of the days of the week already! Lee and Joe had a few things to check at work to put their minds at rest, so Katie watched Stanley for me while Barn and I went for a run. It was sunny and warm and beautiful out there. Having the lock down in place really made me appreciate the time we had outside. It’s funny what you take for granted when you have it all the time isn’t it?

While we were running we didn’t see many people at all, but the few we did we gave plenty of space to, as they did to us. A few smiles from a distance were all the contact we had, but it was nice to think people were respecting the rules. On our way back we ran through a nature reserve close to our home and Barn suggested stopping for a bit of yoga. It was so quiet that it seemed silly not to, and we had half an hour of stretching before we ran home. It was lovely.

Deciding to make the most of the sunshine that we get so rarely, we decided to go out into the garden, just having a little tidy up, and then ate lunch out there. It was like a summer day! Maybe not quite so warm, but good enough. Stanley loved it, just pottering around with us.

It’s odd, but I feel better than I have done in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, I still had to do all my little jobs, my mind would have been preoccupied while I was running otherwise. But who knew lockdown would give me the freedom to slow down and take a break? It’s not what I expected, and who knows if this feeling will last, but for now I’m going to enjoy it! I love my family, but sometimes life gets in the way. It’s quite nice being forced into spending more time with them all, just being together.

How are you all finding things at the moment?

Take care.
Claire x


Scary Lady Bug is Coming To Get Me!!!

Scary Lady Bug is Coming To Get Me!!! corona virus covid-19 beach trip with my son before lockdown and quarantine, in cornwall freedom, writing about life and sobriety on my blog My Not So Secret Diary
Stanley last week at the beach.

Everyone is talking about Covid-19 in some form or other. It quite clearly is affecting everyone across the world at the moment.

It’s hard to explain to the kids how serious the situation is. They think they’re invincible and forget that they aren’t, or that we’re over-reacting, and that their behaviour might have severe consequences on others. It’s not because they don’t care, they just don’t want it to apply to them.

In all honesty, I think over last weekend it sunk in a little bit more of how real it was, at least for my kids. Joe, my eldest was very disappointed that we wouldn’t let him go out. He often meets up with others and their cars in the evenings and told us he’d stay in his car but we still said no, making sure we were following all the guidance, even when it’s hard and makes us unpopular and of course that was before the ‘lockdown’ was implemented. We even said no to him going for a walk with a couple of friends. Barn is still running but not at his track and of course, not with his team or his club. He’s worried he has been getting slower, I’ve told him for the time being, it is okay, but it’s making him stress out a bit. Katie is happy, she quite likes hibernating in her room and as long as she’s got her phone and her art supplies she really doesn’t mind what’s going on. She’s quite easygoing like that.

Stanley is of course a lot younger. This time is probably a little more unsettling for him than it is for the others in some ways. Both sets of his grandparents are self-isolating and so is only has seen them from a distance when we’ve dropped things off for them. This might not seem so strange but as his Dad and I work with one set of grandparents, he sees them most days. Now he doesn’t. Secondly, one of his brothers and his sister are no longer at school or college meaning we no longer drive them there in the mornings and he is also not in nursery anymore. Work is like a second home to us all, and we’re no longer there either, so a lot has changed, and he doesn’t understand why. On top of that he is probably picking up my worries about food, feeding a family of six is hard at the best of times! I’m also worrying about work, our company like many others is going to be affected in one way or another by this pandemic.

I’ve tried to keep things normal and not show my worry, but I’ve also been trying to talk to him so he gets it. I’ve told him there is a ‘nasty bug’, and we need to look after everybody and wash our hands a lot. He’s thought it over, and seems to understand, but I didn’t realise how literally he’d taken it until he told me that the Nasty Lady Bug is getting his friends at nursery. It did make me smile! I tried to explain to him that there isn’t a nasty ladybird or ladybug out there, and that it’s an invisible germ that we can’t see, but he seems sure and has told everybody he can about it. So just keep your eyes open in case we’ve missed something and there really is a scary ladybug out there!

Take care and stay safe everyone.
Claire x


What A Funny Old Day…

What a funny old day My Not So Secret Diary
A spot of birthday cleaning at work this afternoon.

It’s my birthday today. I can’t say I was looking forward to a birthday in lockdown, but there we go, not much choice is there! And I was lucky, we managed to get out and enjoy some fresh air, in total isolation I might add, on the moor on Sunday for Mother’s Day. So it isn’t all bad.

Today I went into work, it was our last day for a while, being as it’s a family business we were hoping to keep going for as long as we can, but we are thinner on the ground. My mother and father in law were the first to go, staying at home and safe, where they should be, with one of the grandads. As well as my husband, our eldest son also works with us, so the three of us hoped we could keep going even if some of the other employees didn’t want to come in, but of course last night ‘lockdown’ was enforced. We run a bespoke manufacturing company, so we make a lot of unique projects and we can’t do it from home, well besides from some work on the computer, but all our machinery is there so we can’t run it from home.

We’ve spent so long working hard on building the business up, like so many other people have. Of course we want to be safe and to protect ourselves and the rest of the community, but it is sad to think we’ve left for the foreseeable future. I think that’s one of the hardest things at the moment, it’s just the unknown. No one knows quite what the future holds, because no one has experienced anything like this before. It’s scary, and yet, we’re all doing the right thing by staying in. I can’t say it really bothered me too much, well besides the trouble to get shopping. Last night though, it did upset me a bit, the prospect of being indoors largely for the foreseeable future worries me. I know we can go out for exercise, but I am quite an outdoorsy person. I like to be outside. It makes me feel better. My son surfs throughout the summer in the evenings after school, but that won’t be happening. All of our races have been cancelled. I can’t even take the little one to the park. Until today, we had our littlest man running around with his bike in the yard at work, because it was safe, there was no risk of contact with anyone other than ourselves, and we had already closed the gates to the public. As we closed our gates today, we lost that opportunity. We still have the garden at home, but it was nice to have such a large area to let him run safely, and be able to ride around.

I know it’s all for our own protection, but it seems a little bit overwhelming at the moment. I’m hoping by following the rules that things will get back to normal before long, but we’ll have to see. I have to say though, on the positive side, I am so grateful for my sobriety. I am grateful for having a clear mind, and the ability to see the bigger picture. So although it’s my birthday, I won’t be raising a glass tonight. Instead, I shall be having a can of coke.

Thanks as always. Take care all of you.


Mother's Day

Mother's Day in quarantine with my family lockdown sobriety and mental health blog My Not So Secret Diary

Mother's Day 2

Mother's Day 3

Mothers Day 4
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mums out there who do so much!

What a strange day! I had to say Happy Mothers Day to my my mum over the phone and to my mother in law over a distance of about 5 metres, from the edge of their driveway, but as they now have a 90 year old great grandad staying with them, we need to stay safe.
Hopefully by taking these precautions we will keep more people safe and be back to normal sooner. Who knows?

Later we went for a walk, me, my husband, our four kiddies and Miley our Labrador, to a lovely spot on the moor where we didn’t see another soul, except for some cows. The sunshine was beautiful, and what we all needed to recharge for a bit and let off some steam.

And I got flowers! Daffodils, which are my favourite. Happy days.

Take care everyone!
Claire x