As all you Carers out there will know finding some “Me Time” can often be an impossible ask! Well, I won’t go into all of the details but after years and years of thinking of others first and always putting myself last I have finally decided enough is enough and I have to start looking after number one for a change.

I have been suffering with ill health for a few years now which is progressive and incurable however I have still tried to be there for those in the family who require extra care and support.  Unfortunately, over the past few months my physical health has deteriorated and I have also been struggling with my mental health for a few months now due to “family stresses and issues”. Thankfully my G.P. has arranged some counselling for me and I have also received some excellent support from Gateshead Carers as per usual. The reason I am telling you all this is not to gain your sympathy but to just say that if you are in a similar position then make a stand. I am not saying that you should abandon those family members or friends who need your support, but try not to be there for everyone and forget about your own needs. 

Right, that is the end of the doom and gloom. I am now going to tell you how I have started to make these changes and what I am getting up to with regards to finding some “Me Time”. 

I have got to say what I am most proud of is not jumping in with two feet straight away when someone tells me all their troubles and woes and instead I think seriously about the situation and then decide whether I have the time and energy to support them. 

Now for the exciting part, what have I been up to recently?

Well, as you will know from a previous blog I am a member of a local litter picking group named the Wardley Wombles. I have got to say joining this group has got to be one of the best things I could have ever done as I have met so many amazing people and made some really good friendships. 

As I mentioned in my blog about the Wombles, getting out in the fresh air and speaking to other people has been brilliant. In fact there are quite a number of our members who have all said that joining the group has been fantastic for their mental health especially when being stuck at home and not interacting with others.  I think the Pandemic especially has affected so many people mentally and being able to now meet with others and have a chat and a bit of a laugh has been an excellent way of putting a smile on so many faces.

Talking about the Wardley Wombles, as you know I carry out litter picking whilst riding my scooter. Well yesterday, I stopped my car to speak to a council worker who was litter picking near my estate.  During our conversation I thanked him for his work and he told me that it wasn’t just him but also a group of local people (the Wardley Wombles) who were tidying up the local area.  As I was sitting in my car whilst speaking to this gentleman he didn’t know which Womble I was and his next comment was “there is one lady who rides a wheelchair and by she can do some speed!” I couldn’t stop laughing as I told him that it was me and that I wasn’t riding a wheelchair but a scooter and the maximum speed I can do is 4 mph.  I think he must have witnessed me racing down the Felling By-Pass on a slight slope which probably looked adventurous especially when I had my litter picker above my head shouting “Tally-ho!”

What I try to do with regards to litter picking is carry out a litter pick 1-2 times per week as it gets me out of my home, out into the fresh air and more importantly away from the telephone!

Something else which I am trying to put more time into is researching my family tree as I find this so interesting and once I sit down I can easily forget about everything that is going on around me. Although I have to admit that sometimes when I see ancestors who have died as young mothers or as children I wonder whether it is such a good idea. 

I started researching my family tree after I was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of Muscular Dystrophy. I was told by my Consultants at the Centre for Life that there are only 6 of us in Europe who suffer from my particular type and that I am the only one in the UK.  Both of my parents are carriers and I was asked the question whether the two families were related as often when this type of mutation occurs it is when relatives “get together” shall we say! My Dad found the news absolutely hilarious but my Mam was not so amused!  It’s all really fascinating though and I love it!

So getting back to doing more things for me.  I have always been a fan of musical theatre and have been missing my theatre trips so much. So as soon as the theatres re-opened and I received my pension I was straight on the Newcastle Theatre Royal’s website and booked myself 5 shows! I also booked a holiday in Scotland the same day which resulted in my bank balance not looking too healthy but mentally I was absolutely buzzing! Well that was until my husband came in from work and found out that it was beans on toast for tea for the rest of the month ha ha!

Talking about holidays I have been trying to get us a holiday booked for the end of July/beginning of August in this country since February with no success. Thankfully I have now managed to get a week’s break in Scotland which I am so looking forward to.

I am also hoping to get back to learning Arabic and resume my British Sign Language lessons at some point but I think at the moment I have enough going on.

Well, I had better go as my husband is due in from work any time and will be eagerly awaiting his beans on toast for tea!

Take care and make sure that you also make some me time for yourselves and more importantly stock up on loaves of bread and tins of baked beans just in case of an emergency!

Speak soon.

Susie x