To self-censor or be self-centred?

To self-censor or be self-centred? That is the question.

This is my family blog.

In the beginning I started the blog to document our home education journey. We’ve tried all kinds of methods and we’ve been on loads of trips and I’ve taken a million photographs and shared them here. I’m the Mum. There’s a Dad. We started off with three kids and now there are four. My eldest has special needs. We play outside, we talk, we learn, we love each other. We fight (I don’t write about that). We get sick (I don’t write about that).  Sometimes I mess up and put the kids to bed and open the wine. (I don’t talk about that) This afternoon I was thinking about writing this post and also watching The Good Dinosaur with the kids and I left the lamb in the oven too long and didn’t put the veggies on in time. I don’t write about that kind of stuff either… but it isn’t that stuff that’s stopped me writing…I’ve not been writing because of more than that.

I’ve wanted to write but I haven’t had anything positive to say and no one wants to read a load of old moaning do they?

I already wrote about my back operation last September. It followed six months of pain. The pain was mild at first until the morning I was taken to hospital in an ambulance because I had wet myself and could no longer walk at all. They got me out of the house on a stretcher. It was terrifying. The whole thing was ridiculously scary. For me and I think, the kids. I was breastfeeding Oona a few times a day and suddenly I was gone and couldn’t feed her. She was very upset as you can imagine but it was so awful that that was the last thing on my mind. I was at the point where I had had to stop being a parent. I just couldn’t see myself as a mother or a wife. I could only think about myself. My pain, my fear.

It was really the worst experience of my entire life and I still feel like I can’t tell all the story of the hospital stay. I came home and expected to feel better. I could walk again! I was pain free (apart from at the site of the operation) and each day I grew stronger. But I didn’t feel better. I felt distant, I didn’t want to come downstairs. I stayed in bed, only seeing the kids when they came to visit. I was depressed.

My husband Paul is a counsellor and he felt I had post traumatic stress disorder. I just couldn’t feel anything except anxiety and anger and just numbness really. I just couldn’t return to my life. I should’ve been feeling happy and grateful to be pain free and I should’ve been spending time with my family but I just couldn’t. And I certainly didn’t want to write about it! You might’ve judged me for being a terrible parent and wife. I might have lost all my readers! 🙂

I managed to keep my agreements with companies who had sent us games to review but to be honest I had to ask Paul to help me type them.

I started to see a counsellor and things began to improve. I felt like I dealt with my feelings and started to feel less anxious and less overwhelmed by everything. I gradually picked up my life and was even offered a job looking after social media for a company in Skipton. I was really optimistic and wanted to do a good job for them. I threw myself into that and found that I liked having a day a week to myself to visit Skipton or just sit and write for them. My blog stayed dormant because I was trying to get them off to a flying start. Christmas came and went, we had a great time but I was still not back to my full strength and still having some pain. I went back to the GP complaining of altered sensation in my right leg. I was scared everything might be regressing. She referred me for physio but things just continued to get worse.

I had to rehome my chickens because I couldn’t look after them and I got a cleaner because I could no longer keep on top of the house. I now pay Imogen to put the washing on for me because I can’t bend down to pick the clothes up and put them in the machine. I can’t change the beds or clean the shower…I’ve slipped on the stairs countless times because I have altered sensation in my feet.

See? Moan moan MOAN!

But the alternative is to not blog. And I like blogging. It’s something I can do. As opposed to the heaps of things I can no longer do. My friend had the kids for the day the other week. All the kids! Woohoo! Me and Paul planned a day out. We went to Skipton, actually because it’s one of our favourite haunts. I drove there (BIG mistake) we arrived and I was already tired from the 40 minute drive. We had lunch at Bizzie Lizzies chip shop, wandered over to Filmore and Union (great gluten free cakes), looked in a few shops and I was totally exhausted. We were home for 3pm and I managed a three hour nap before the kids got home. I’m sure it’s like being married to a pensioner (and a not very spritely one at that!)

I cried a bit. And drank a bottle of wine.

Wine is in fact safer than all the medication I should be on! (And that’s coming from the daughter of an alcoholic!)

I handed in my notice to the lady at Skipton because I couldn’t sit at the laptop long enough to be of any use to them and my drive to Skipton was just evidence enough that I couldn’t be driving over there regularly on my own (Paul drove us home on our romantic day out and of course linked arms with me whilst I hobbled around the shops!) I saw the neurosurgeon who referred me for another MRI and according to the GP the disc has slipped and is compressing the nerve root again…and my facet joints are ‘gummed up’ with what I can only imagine! I really daren’s Google it, I’m miserable enough! I have another appointment with the neuro team in May so I am hoping they will fix me for good this time then I can get back to being the old me.

Either that or I will at least find out what is actually going on and I can kind of readjust my expectations…if that makes sense? At the moment I hope to get better and I have kind of put everything on hold because I don’t want to build myself a new life around this problem. I want my old life back. If someone said I couldn’t have my own life back I would be pretty devastated but equally I could at least start to piece together a new life. I feel like I am in limbo right now, not wanting to take too much on in case things get worse, not planning a holiday for this Summer because we don’t know if I will be offered surgery (and because it’s a pre-existing condition the insurance won’t cover us). I book the children onto activities and then have to cancel on the last minute because I’m having a bad pain day and can’t drive…not good with a child on the spectrum. We have had to have conversations about flexibility on a few occasions.

I somehow feel though that even with a fixed back and totally pain free I will never be the old me again. I will never take my health for granted again, but it’s not just that, I feel like I’ve gone all grown-up. I know at nearly forty I should be grown up…but I feel like my youth has gone.  I no longer trust my body, I’m careful getting in and out of the shower. I hold on to the banister coming down the stairs.

And now I have to get the veggies out of the oven and make gravy because my brood are coming home from Grandma’s with Paul and my back is hurting from typing so long.

I promise to keep writing my blog. I’m issuing a warning though, it won’t be censored. So there will be moaning. And it won’t just be about the kids. It might be about me too. I hope I haven’t depressed you guys too much. I have a couple of review posts to write this week which will be nice. One was a trip Oona and I took to The Boo Theatre, and Yellow Moon sent us another brilliant box of goodies, plus Oona received some cute activity books from Orchard Toys so I have to write about that.

See you soon and thanks for listening!


  10 comments for “To self-censor or be self-centred?

  1. May 1, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Much love to you Mel.
    I often feel turned off reading blogs where life is perfect, because, as we all know, life isn’t perfect.
    You might find it to be quite a cathartic experience to write about the darker shades of life; and you might find your readership increases.
    A very gentle hug, your friend Lynn x

    • Mel Bridge
      May 1, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Thank you Lynn x

  2. Julie C
    May 1, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    Mel, reading your blog today made me realise that I’m just another mum, not finding things easy, when anyone looking from the outside would think I had things easy. We often don’t want anyone to see the cracks in our ‘perfect’ lives and hide what we see as failure. I’ve missed reading your blog and this one made me cry (a daily occurrence lately) keep writing and doing the best you can and don’t let anyone judge you, Julie xxx

    • Mel Bridge
      May 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks Julie that’s really kind of you to say. It is hard because everyone seems like they are amazing! And sometimes I can’t get out of bed and have to leave everything to Paul. Thanks for reading x

  3. Hena
    May 1, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Mel. Great post! I’ve recently been diagnosed with thyroid problems and have had days with no energy. I have parented from the sofa all day. Then other days are better but I feel scared of doing too much as I may get too tired for things I have to deliver later in the week. I too would like an up to date manual on where I am now but that doesn’t really happen. I read somewhere, nothing in nature blooms all the time xx

    • Mel Bridge
      May 3, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      That’s a lovely way to see it, thanks! Sorry to hear you struggle too sometimes. Rubbish isn’t it? X

  4. Katie
    May 2, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Oh god love, have a good whinge, and some wine. I’m a great believer that the more people you whinge at the better you feel. I whinge all the time. At everyone. It’s one of my better talents. No chance of getting you to help with the wretched house move in which I have been abandoned by everyone then…! Once I’m over here we will go for lunch and you can whinge at me. And I’ll whinge back about the wretched house move. Xx

    • Mel Bridge
      May 3, 2016 at 6:54 pm

      Ha ha ok sweetie pea 🙂

  5. Ash
    May 5, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Hi Mel I think you will know who this is, it’s Ash and I read your blog. I’m really sorry you went through all that with your back and everything, it might not mean much but for what it’s worth I can empathise and if it helps I know a little bit what it’s like. Pain and fear are massive scary things and I really hope you can be fixed. But if you can’t be fixed you’ll still be Mel. A different Mel, maybe, but Mel just the same. and the people who really know you and are friends with you and love you will never see any difference. Wishing you all the very best, and a cuddle too xx

    • Mel Bridge
      May 5, 2016 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks Ash, means a lot. It’s shit but it’s all learning. I’ve got lots of friends who live with chronic pain and I didn’t understand. I did try, but you don’t know until you live with it. X

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