Living on the edge

 

I am writing this for myself more than anyone else. I need to work out how I am feeling, why and how to do something about it. I don’t know about anyone else but for me putting it down in words helps me to work things out so this is what I am going to do now.

I am aware that when I am unhappy my family and friends will automatically think that the trouble stems from my marriage. There have been times when this has been the case but not at the moment.

The last few months I have been feeling very lonely, not when I am alone but when I am surrounded by others. This could in part be put down to my poor hearing. I don’t always know what people are talking about, partly because I can’t hear but also because I have noticed an increase in private conversations going on around me. I don’t ask what people are talking about because I figure that if they want me to know then they will tell me. This I think sometimes back fires because they then think I am neither interested nor care about what is going on with other people.

 Now that there are just the two of us at home, there is very rarely any tension where there was a lot in the past. I don’t feel any need to gripe to my friends about my home life. Maybe this is part of my problem, I don’t have much of interest to say, so it’s possible that my friends think I am being aloof. The more I am excluded from conversations the more I draw into myself. I guess this has become a vicious circle. I have been trying to make more effort to be more sociable but still I feel that I am being left out in the cold.

Recently I attended a function where I had an opportunity to catch up with a number of people I hadn’t seen for ages which was really nice. This function involved a sit down meal (which was tasty). I found myself sat between two people I have very little to talk about with. The two people to my right were constantly looking at their phones, I know this was no reflection on me. I was actually pleased that the person on my immediate right did actually talk to me a bit. He is well known for not talking to anyone he doesn’t know well. Where I could hear laughter coming from all the other tables there was none from ours. That isn’t just because I was on that table, there were three people that I could normally have a laugh with, it just didn’t happen. Maybe if I had been drinking more (I had a glass of bubbly on arrival and a glass of red wine with my meal) I might have been jollier. I don’t drink much so when I do it goes straight to my head. Perhaps it was because I had been feeling in very low spirits all week that I wasn’t able to just let go and drink more or enjoy myself better. By 10pm I could easily have just gone home but the taxi I was sharing was booked for midnight. Speeches over I joined everyone in the bar with the dance floor. I found myself sitting on my own, (my choice) just watching everyone else having fun. Several people did try to get me dancing and some of the time I did. Other times I didn’t (something in my head was telling me “if you don’t feel comfortable doing something then don’t do it”).

By the time I got home and my husband asked if I had a good time, I was feeling very unhappy. I tried to identify why I was feeling this way. I don’t blame anyone else it is all down to me. Being on the edge looking in is probably where I normally find myself at functions. It has never bothered me in the past, I am usually quite content to sit watching everyone else having fun. This time though it has got me taking a long hard look at myself, and I don’t like it. It has left me feeling very miserable, and self-conscious. I can’t function properly. My husband has been very understanding and caring for which I am extremely grateful.

I have realised that although I have a sense of humour and love to laugh, one of my favourite sayings is “a day without laughter is a day wasted”. I do find it difficult to let go of my inhibitions and have fun the same way that others do. Is this genetic? Is this because I am so incredibly shy? Most people don’t realise how shy I am. In small groups of two or three I am fine but put me in a larger group I can’t be my usual self(even if that larger group consists of people I get on with in smaller groups). Even when my kids were little I loved being silly and doing daft things with them but couldn’t do it with other kids around. I love being daft and goofing around like the child that my mind still thinks I am so why can’t I be like that with other people around. Why do I always have to behave like a sensible grown up. Why can’t I let go? I am hurting myself with all these thoughts, I am making myself miserable and tearful thinking about what is wrong with me. My self-esteem is rock bottom. Where do I go from here?

I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to be around me when I am not much fun to be around. I know that the general consensus will be that I should talk to my doctor, I don’t want to take any tablets, the last time I went to see my Dr feeling depressed I was offered self-referral telephone counselling. This I would be more likely to take on if they worked outside normal working hours, I don’t believe that they do. I have just decided to contact them anyway. I don’t know what else I can do to get myself out of this misery. I feel like avoiding all contact with people, I know that is not an option and I will do my best to face it. Before this I have found comfort being with people who care about me but I’m not sure that I can face anyone right now.

I hate these feelings of self-pity, I want to get back to being the cheerful positive person that I like to be. The person who no matter what life throws in my direct I can face it head on and deal with it. I am so proud of the fact that whenever I get low, I allow myself 2 or 3 days to wallow then I pick myself up. This time it just isn’t working. Is it because this time the problem is not anyone or anything else it is me myself and I. This time I don’t know how to fix it.

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I’m still here

Is it because I am getting older or is it because I am losing weight? It would appear that I have become invisible.

So many people have told me lately that I am shrinking, I have lost a fair amount of weight (the scales don’t agree). Last night I took the plunge and weighed myself (expecting a great result) I was exactly the same as I had been the last time, which was about 6 or 7 weeks ago. The good thing is that my clothes have been getting bigger. Oh and the last time I weighed myself it hadn’t changed in a couple of months either. Are my scales broken?

I am just glad that unlike some of my friends I am not a slave to my scales. They do not tell the whole story on their own. Maybe all the walking I am now doing has changed my fat into muscle so that my body is trimmer than it was but the bulk still weighs the same.

So I am losing body mass but not weight.

Something else I am slowly losing is my eyesight. This does worry me more than my weight. I didn’t need glasses until a few years ago, even when I started wearing glasses I didn’t wear them very much only when I needed to. These days however I find I need to wear them 95% of the time. I have two pairs of glasses (both with reactor light film). I have vari focals for reading and middle distance, plus long distance for driving etc. When I am out doing my catalogues I could easily wear both. I am noticing more and more that my eye sight has got worse over a few short years, Where does that leave me in a few more years? I am grateful that we live in such a beautiful country and I get to see lots of wild birds whilst out walking (I can’t always see what they are though). Over the past few years I had forgotten many of the flowers that I used to grow but now I see them and many others in the gardens that I pass through.

With my love of bright colours I am sure other people will be able to see me even when I can’t see as much as I did.

I have never been able to hear properly, I do have two digital hearing aids but these are only really much use when talking to someone on a one to one basis. Because most of my time I am surrounded by sound, my hearing aids don’t help much as they magnify all sound and I still lose what is being said. I rarely wear them any more. I tried to wear them in the office recently (I didn’t tell anyone) but I couldn’t hear any better so gave up.

All my colleagues and most of my friends know that my hearing is not great. I spend a lot of time asking people to ‘say that again’. I am sure most people have got used to my  blank looks when I have no idea what they have just said to me. Most of the time I figure it out by guessing what the missing words should be. If you imagine a completed jigsaw puzzle with gaps where pieces have got lost. You still have a good idea what the picture is, you just don’t have all the detail. That is what my hearing is like. My main problems come with words like  did/didn’t, have/haven’t could/couldn’t, was/wasn’t. I think this is why I try to enunciate every word clearly and why when I write I do the same. For this reason I don’t think I will ever become a successful writer because I write the way I speak, the way I need other people to speak to me. This is not natural for most people, I find contractions in speech difficult.

More and more I am finding that when people are talking around me I can’t keep up with the conversation so I give up trying and retreat into my own world. Sometimes I find it annoying that people don’t make sure I know what is being said, other times I find it hurtful that conversations are carried out around me knowing that I can’t hear properly, this makes me feel excluded.

I should be used to this feeling of being excluded, it has been happening to me for many years. Yet I still find it hurts. When my boys were growing up and belonged to the local football clubs there were a  lot of family events that my family didn’t get invited to, I assumed that it was because my then husband was very embarrassing, that and our lack of money meant we couldn’t often afford to join in, it would have been nice to be asked though.

Now though I realise that it must be something about me. On the face of it everyone likes me, I am often told I am lovely, that people like me, I get on with most people but I guess I must be kidding myself still.

Yes I am feeling sorry for myself and no that is not part of my normal character,  Yes I am generally a positive happy person, that doesn’t mean I don’t get hurt sometimes.

There are many social events going on that I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to go to, some I just wouldn’t want to go to. Some I don’t have time to go to. What hurts the most is being kept in the dark.

I feel isolated enough because I can’t hear as well as the rest of you, I understand that you might think I might not be able to go to various events and sometimes I might not be wanted there, but please don’t keep secrets from me.

I might not be the life and soul of the party but it would be nice to be invited sometimes.

Before everyone starts thinking that I want/expect to get invited to everything I don’t. What I object to is the secrecy, not only do I miss out on the event but also the chat about what to wear who is going how every one is getting there and also hearing about it afterwards.

Now I am going to cheer myself up by going out walking with the sun on my face and the breeze in my hair, see the birds flying hither and thither, enjoy the colours of the flowers and forget about everyone else.