What a beautiful winter’s morning by the Mediterranean. People were out walking their dogs, taking a stroll, cycling, on their at to the Sunday market or, as we were doing, enjoying a morning coffee at a cafe and watching the world go by in the warmth of the sun.
It reminded me of being on the sea wall in Vancouver – people out enjoying the fresh air and glad to be alive.
I was also thinking of this time last year when my brother had been given just a few weeks to live and my mother was struggling with the effects of vascular dementia. She’d forgotten my birthday, although she realised the day after – that’s how I knew how much she was struggling. This is the woman who never forgot birthdays. She could tell you the birthdays of all the neighbours and their children, relatives, friends and people I’d never heard of, so the fact that she’s forgotten her daughter’s birthday told me a lot.
She’d wake up several times in the night and call out. Sometimes she needed help to go to the toilet, other times she seemed as if she was having night terrors.
Whatever the cause of her waking so many times in the night, I was getting very little sleep.
I hadn’t thought it possible that I could go on for so long on so little sleep, layer upon layer of tiredness and fatigue.
I was eating more biscuits than I’d ever eaten in my life – apparently craving sugar is an actual physiological response to sleep deprivation.
The sleep deprivation had been going on for over a year and I was done. Done like dinner.
It was obvious my mother needed more care than I could provide to keep her safe.
I approached social services for help but it was the wrong time of year – no appointments available until the new year.
So, as you do, I soldiered on through the Christmas period and finally it was my mother’s GP who came to the rescue and organised appropriate care for her.
Had I not had the support of friends and my coach I don’t know what I would have done. I was lucky that I have that network. I realise many people feel isolated and have no one to turn to.
Here’s a testimonial from one of my coaching clients:
“Thanks for your support, I have been on my own with this stuff for so long. Am already realising lots of things, and we’ve only done one session!”
Don’t be on your own. Find someone to help you through – no matter what it is.
So sitting in the winter sunshine 12 months later, life is so different. I’m no longer sleep deprived, I’m not stuffing myself with sugar and I’m living life on my terms.