So, I know its been a really long time since my last (and first) blog but things have been pretty crazy around here.


Between the three kids and two businesses that I run and all that entails, I’ve been running around like a headless chicken. But last week I hit a brick wall!


Let me go back a little, when we got John’s diagnosis back at the beginning of September (it feels like a lot longer than just two months!) We stepped straight into ‘action mode’. I did a bit of research and we decided that going down the plant-based diet route would help John’s health and so we made that change and that actually took up a lot of time, to begin with. 


Finding recipe books and bloggers that I liked and found easy enough to follow, finding shops to get bits and pieces that we would never have bought before like tempeh, tamari and other stuff I’d never heard of! And I also found that meal prep took a lot longer than it used to (but, on the flip side from one dish you can get two or even three days).  And then, this will come as no surprise, the eldest two were not willing to play ball! So, I found myself meal planning and shopping and making meals for two different diets! Ugh! Exhausting.


And I also went hell for leather with work.  I have a children’s fitness franchise that I own with another Mum and September/ October is one of our busiest times and I also have a home-based health and wellbeing business that I’m growing.  So, I threw myself into all of them, working in the franchise in the mornings, doing marketing, training coaches and teaching classes.  I'd get home to collect the kids, get them home, fed, homework done, and out to whatever afterschool activity we have (except Tuesdays – I love Tuesdays, on Tuesdays we have NOTHING) and in the evenings work on my health and well-being business. 


It was relentless, but I just kept telling myself ‘keep going, you’ll be grand’, ‘we’ll chill during midterm’, ‘everything will be fine if you just keep going’, ‘keep going’, ‘keep going.’


John was feeling really tired too, which is just part and parcel of life at the moment, but he woke up one morning, was really unwell and went to the doctor who sent him into hospital.


He was admitted that day with a really bad kidney infection which was really worrying, and I had to fly to the UK the following morning to a work event.  So stress upon stress! BUT my amazing sister stepped in, took the kids, organised everything for me so I could go. Thankfully John got home after just 5 days.


Midterm came and went and we didn’t get to do all the chilling and relaxing we so badly needed (does that happen to you too?) Basically, we were still fecked!


As the time was passing and things were still as crazy as ever I became aware of a constant anxiety. I couldn’t relax, I couldn’t sit down, I was really distracted, very on edge and just had this feeling of impending doom.  I wasn’t sleeping well, I was waking up exhausted and just felt really, really fearful all the time.


I’m generally not an anxious person at all, but we’ve been through a few fairly stressful situations over the last 10 years so I recognise anxiety when it kicks in. Generally, I’m able to lift myself out of it. I’m a really positive person by nature and that’s usually enough to get me through. But, this time, I couldn’t fight it.  I then started to feel really low and really emotional and began to look down the road to the worst case scenario and started to freak myself out entirely. 


So, after a couple of days of being either in tears or on the verge of tears, and just having this constant dread in the forefront of my mind, I decided I needed to do something about it.


I’m so lucky with my support network of family and friends so I started there and started talking to people and telling them how I was feeling and the general response was ‘I’m not surprised’,  ‘of course you do’, ‘you’ve so much going on’, ‘you’ve had a tough time’ and from all of that I started to believe that we actually have been through a lot and that ‘keeping going’ wasn’t actually going to ease the stress of the situation.


Then, I made an appointment to see my kinesiologist – she’s an AMAZING woman, not only does she rebalance my energies  (I’m not really sure what she does at all but it feels good and it works) but she is so full of wisdom and insight that she can usually tell what’s up before I even open my mouth. 


So, I went to see her, I sat down in her chair, the comfiest, cosiest armchair I have ever sat in, and I started to cry.  And I cried and cried and cried and in between my tears, I told her how I was feeling and, just like the others, she said ‘I’m not surprised you’re feeling like this.  This is normal’ and immediately I started to feel better – I didn’t stop crying but I did feel better.


She said that she thought that back in September when we got John’s news that we both went into activity mode just to allow ourselves to get on with things.  She said that we were probably in shock – that although John may well go on to live a long healthy life, to be told that your heart isn’t working as it should and that it may well deteriorate is a huge blow, she used the word devastating and she thought that it’s only now that we are beginning to process the news.


I think she’s probably right. I do feel devastated, I do feel worried and scared but I’m going to allow myself to feel that way and I’m going to take things a little slower and focus on John and the kids and the rest will work itself out.  It’s ok to feel like this, it’s ok to feel anxious, but if you don’t look at it and recognise it, acknowledge it, let it go and move on then it will take control and I don’t want that – I’m in control.


So, now is a time for taking stock, for simplifying and regrouping.  Prioritising what matters and removing any unnecessary stress from our lives. Watch this space!

Máire Toomey is a mother of three from Dublin blogging about the impact of her husband's heart condition on the day to day lives of a family of 5.

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