Please tell me I’m good

Another aspect of my personality I’ve been exploring with my counsellor is my need for approval. Normally this is something people grow out of early in life, but not me. In work especially, I do whatever I can in the hopes that I’ll receive praise. And when I receive feedback that highlights where I’m falling short, it tears me into a million pieces. My new job is great and everyone is so supportive. When I’m given feedback, it’s not lectured to me and yet I still feel like I’ve let everyone down.

I’ve read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson (which I highly recommend), and I’m trying to follow the advice given. I’m trying to stop myself when I find I’m doing something that I’m hoping for approval of. Or not doing something. My sister suggests next time I see a piece of clothing that she or my mam don’t necessarily like but I like, then I should buy it. Right now, I can’t really come up with an example of when I strive for approval, outside of work at least, but that’s because I’m so used to it and I don’t know when I’m doing it.

I don’t know if it counts, but today I drove out to one of my favourite parks and went for a walk around it. Normally, the voice in my head would say it’s stupid and time wasting to drive out there (about a 5-10 minute drive) when I could just walk around where I live. Whether I was striving for approval or just worrying too much about the impact it’d have on my day, I decided to go anyway and I enjoyed it. I didn’t get to everything I wanted to do today, but I never do.

Hopefully I can find some more examples of when I seek approval and work on – in Mark Manson’s words – not giving a f*ck!

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When you try your best but you don’t succeed…

It’s been really long since I’ve updated. In my last post I spoke about my dad being hospitalised and finding a new lease on life. Unfortunately, that hasn’t played out like we’d hoped. He’s essentially fallen back into his depression and carrying out the same behaviours as before. He barely leaves the house. He’s backed out of a holiday me and my siblings bought for my mam’s 60th birthday last month. He’s back to looking like a shell. My mam and my sister feel let down. As for me, instead of nagging him I’m going to focus on just having a relationship with him.

You see, I’ve starting seeing a counsellor. I started a new job back in April and through it employees can avail of free support services. So far I’ve been to three sessions and a lot of it has been focused on my dad. I admitted the guilt I carried from how badly I treated him as he fell further and further into depression. On the advice of my counsellor, I sat down with him and apologised for how I treated him. He denied I treated him badly but we both know I did. I told him I’m scared for him. I don’t ever want to see the ICU again, it’s an eerie place and the reality is that there are people in there who will likely never come out.

I’ve realised I’m a fixer and I’ve been trying to fix my dad as well as other family members, to my detriment. Thanks to counselling, I’m slowly learning to take a step back and tell myself that it’s not my job to fix anyone, especially those who don’t seem to want to be fixed. So I’m going to spend time with my dad whenever I can. My mam goes out on Tuesday nights with her sisters, so my plan is to go around and watch Netflix. I haven’t told him yet, I’d be afraid he’d make another excuse. I miss going to the cinema with him, but that may not happen again. Small steps for now.

You leave me breathless

I’ve been putting off blogging for a while now but I don’t really know why. Perhaps because there’s so much to catch up. A lot has happened since my last post but I’ll focus on just one thing at a time.

My dad went into Respiratory Arrest almost four weeks ago. It goes up there with one of the worst nights of my life. I was in the cinema with my nephew – the Avengers. And with still ONE hour to go I felt my phone ringing and I knew immediately it was about my dad and it wasn’t good. I didn’t want to ruin the film for my nephew and reluctantly waited until it was over to find out what was going on.

He was in ICU for a few days but he’s gradually improved and the doctors didn’t mince their words when they told him he was really lucky. He almost died. It’s really given him a new lease on life. Up to his hospitalisation he never left the house or did very much and no matter how much we begged and cried, he wouldn’t budge. Now he’s promised himself he’ll go for walks, go on holiday, etc. After enduring his stubbornness for so long, we’re all a little sceptical but obviously we’re just relieved to still have him.

Right now he’s dying to get home but the doctors aren’t letting him out until his heart rate goes down. We’ll find out tomorrow.

The tooth battle is lost

At 31 years old, I’m still paying for the mistakes I made as a child/teenager when it comes to my teeth. I refused to use toothpaste because I hated the taste of mint, eventually giving in to a strawberry-flavoured one. Then I only brushed once a day for my entire adolescence. It wasn’t until I looked into getting braces at around 20 years old that I realised the damage I’d done. I had to get a full periodontal clean at the cost of €1,200 (which my parents and grandmother covered). Then I got my braces.

For a few years after that I still wasn’t the best at taking care of my teeth, not even great at wearing my retainer. But then I noticed one of my bottom front teeth was loose so I went to the dentist. I think I only ever saw that dentist once and he splinted my tooth to the teeth on either side of it. Again, it took me another little while to finally knuckle down and see the dentist regularly (every four months) for a scale and polish, and I now wear my retainer every second night in bed.

It was going good for a while until my dentist expressed concern for my splinted tooth and told me back in October that I may have to return to my periodontist. I did not want that but I figured it’d be worth it to have a healthy mouth. When I return to the clinic in February, I had a new dentist. She was much better and easier to talk to and she immediately referred me back to my periodontist.

I attended my periodontist on Thursday last, expecting to find out that I may lose my splinted tooth. But it was worse… I will lose not only my splinted tooth but the teeth on either side of it (three in total). My periodontist informed me that splinting the teeth only allowed them to destroy each other. She wasn’t impressed with my dentist not giving me any options when it was apparent the teeth were essentially in bits. She also didn’t speak well of my orthodontist, but that’s another matter.

My options include either waiting it out for a few years for the teeth to fall out, all the while not being able to bite very well. Or I can have them extracted and replaced with a denture (temporarily) before investing in two dental implants and a bridge.

The battle is lost. I know it didn’t seem like I fought very hard and when I did it was too little too late. I’ve always had a fear of losing my teeth. And as bad as it sounds, people with missing front teeth freak me out. Maybe it was those God awful mouthwash ads that showed people with perfectly white teeth with one missing.

Right now, I’m still processing it but I know I can’t leave them to fall out on their own. Who knows what further damage they may end up doing. Sigh.

Off Topic Thursday: less plastic

This is inspired by a similar post by Taking on a World of Words. After listening to an episode of Stuff You Should Know about recycling, I was stunned to realise that I was a recycling more than I needed to. In other words, I was buying more and more plastic and assuring myself that it was OK because I was recycling. Recycle is actually the last word on the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle phrase. Ideally the first thing people should aim for is to reduce. After that try to reuse some stuff. Then and only then should you recycle.

Once this revelation hit me I decided to see what I could reduce. I’m still a long way from where I want to be in this regard but here is a list of stuff I’ve been experimenting with:

1. Carton packaged eggs

Sure you’ll get more in a box if you opt for plastic, but more isn’t always better and I’m now buying a box of twelve carton-packaged eggs a week.

2. Using mouthwash tablets

I haven’t yet received these and I’m a little nervous but I go through so many bottles of mouthwash it’s ridiculous. Georganics do cruelty-free mouthwash tablets in both a 3-month and 1-year supply glass jar. It’ll certainly be a relief not having to travel with a bottle of mouthwash that has the potential to spill.

3. Pit Putty

You heard me right! Irish-made, this natural deodorant comes in a decent sized aluminium tin and has four different scents. I’m currently using lemon and lavender and it smells gorgeous! For a while I was using the Greeeeench from Lush but it’s too messy and it comes in a plastic bottle. This I highly recommend because it works!

4. Shampoo bars

Now I’m struggling with this because my scalp is so sensitive and I can’t find a cruelty-free shampoo with no parabens or sulphates that doesn’t dry it out. I invested in a bottle of Aveda designed to help with this and it ticked all the boxes bar plastic and it’s not helping. Waste of €25! I’ve tried a few Lush shampoo bars but they’re not great either, plus they have sulphates and I want to avoid them now. I’ve ordered a shampoo bar from Little Green Shop and it’s supposed to help balance sebum levels (which I’m only assuming is what’s causing my scalp problems). Fingers crossed!

5. Homemade cat food

Sachets of cat food are so wasteful and there’s a poor selection of tinned cat food in my local supermarket. I looked up homemade cat food recipes and so far I’ve made two dishes: mackerel with chicken broth and rice – Oreo didn’t like it but Jessie did, though it did give her the runs. Then I tried boiled chicken with carrot, broccoli and chicken broth, which she loved. I’m going to try a beef recipe next to give her some variety and hopefully down the road I can stop buying Whiskas.

Other possibilities:

I currently use an electric toothbrush that I’ve had for 10 years and hasn’t let me down. It’s recommended using a bamboo toothbrush but I can’t bring myself to get rid of something so reliable. Plus I have a tonne of replacement heads. So this is still a maybe. I also want to use laundry nuts once our current detergent runs out. My sister-in-law uses them and recommends them. And of course, toothpaste tablets!

Reusable items:

As I’ve mentioned I’ve tried a lot of shampoos which means I’m left with half full bottles of a few that didn’t work. I looked up ways to reuse them and it turns out there’s a tonne of them! Right now I’m using one of them as a hand soap, but they also clean dishes, laundry stains, etc. I’m delighted they won’t go to waste now.

That’s my list so far, here’s to being green!

 

Jessie

My 12-year-old dog Jessie sadly passed away last Thursday. She had been very ill between her diabetes, blindness, heart murmur, growth in her throat, one side of her head sinking and crushing down on her eye. We only had her for six years after adopting her at six years old following the death of our last dog Sheba.

I’ve always been there when we say goodbye to our pets but my mam made the tough decision to send Jessie over Rainbow Bridge herself. I’ll admit I was angry at first, devastated that I would never see my dog again, but I can understand now that putting it off would’ve only prolonged her suffering.

Some of you may remember that I only lost my other dog Poppy back in October, which was soon followed by the death of my grandmother. They say bad things come in threes and it would seem that that’s been the case for my mam and me. Now that I’ve moved out, the house is empty for my mam. Our cat Ali is not the lovable type most of the time so she’s of little comfort. She’ll adopt again but Jessie will never be forgotten.

Something curious happened two days before Jessie passed. I arrived home and received a nasty shock when I found a full-grown sparrow in my kitchen. My cat Oreo had been chasing the poor thing around for God knows how long – there were feathers everywhere. It must’ve come down the chimney. I let it out and the vet assured me if it flew out it was likely alright. Everyone seemed most surprised at the fact that it was a full grown bird and not a baby that had simply fallen from the nest on my roof. Then on Saturday, two days after Jessie’s passing, my sister-in-law revealed to me an Old Wives Tale that suggests a bird entering a home is a warning that a death will occur in the family. Was that why a fully grown bird somehow came down my chimney?

I miss Jessie terribly and as I heal I feel guilty. Should I be healing so soon? I can only assure myself that she’s in a better place with Poppy and Sheba and the devastatingly long list of other pets I’ve lost in my lifetime. There has to be something beyond this.

It’s all about control

I believe I experienced first-hand just how little control I have over my day. Stoicism has been trying to hammer it into me, but I guess I needed to experience it for myself. Here’s what happened.

Work was done for the day and I decided to grab a few ingredients for making my own cat food (this is part of my goal of ridding as much plastic from my life as I can), then I chose to take a different route home for a change. I’ve driven this road hundreds of times because I went to college near where I work, but I only take the route now and then.

I was making good time when suddenly a car moved out from the left, somehow not seeing me. I slammed on my brakes as hard as I could, but we made contact. I could hear the crunch of my bumper hitting that of the other car. I was pretty shaken up and there was little to no damage somehow though the other drive insisted on paying me for any potential repairs I may need. She was so unbelievably calm about it whereas I was a mess. We parted ways and I rang M to let him know what had happened. Then I went to start my car, and…nothing. My battery had completely died. For a few minutes I sat thinking ‘what the hell am I going to do? I’m stuck’. Then I remembered I had breakdown assistance as part of my insurance policy.

I wound up waiting an hour, but my car was jump-started within seconds and I got home just over two hours after I’d finished work. M said I was grey when he first saw me. I had had a migraine before the accident and so my head was pounding on top of my shock.

That was yesterday. I’m fine now, still with a touch of a headache but I’m taking something for it. Both me and my car are in one piece, that’s the main thing. I kept thinking of all the choices that lead to me being in that situation, then I remembered something I heard on Reddit. Think of all the crashes/near-misses/accidents I’ve avoided by the choices I made. And sadly, life is out of my control. I can plan everything down to a tee, but it could easily go south.

And here’s a fun fact: I’ve only ever experienced one other minor road incident. It was while I was in college and I bumped into the car in front. Again, there was no damage (though the other driver initially tried to get compensation). And get this – it was on the EXACT same road I hit the car yesterday. I think I’ll avoid that road for a while!