Midlife: It’s All a Bit Shit, Isn’t It? (Life Lately…)

Midlife Can Be a Bit Shit and Challenging, Can't It | by Catherine Summers AKA Not Dressed As Lamb, over 50 ifestyle blog

So I called this It’s All A Bit Shit, Isn’t It? – it could have also been entitled How to Cope When Life Changes – and Not For the Better.

I’ll let you decide which title you prefer once you’ve had a read (and I promise it’ll be quick. Look, just five minutes! A record for me, considering that whenever I say “I’ll be quick, I promise…” it usually spells the kiss of death to any desired brevity of prose).

 

Some of the content in this post is about dementia and degenerative disease and may be triggering for some. [Reading time: 5 mins]

Anyway…

Life hasn’t been easy lately. I know I’m not the only one, but god, I’m tired. REALLY tired.

Middle age, midlife, “your 50s”, the golden years… whatever you call it, no one prepares you for it. Or at least, no one prepared us Gen X-ers for it. (Are we preparing Gen Z-ers enough? I’ll let you ponder that while you read.)

I will admit that, at times, midlife SUCKS.

I’ve had a lot going on this year. Our family has had a lot going on this year. I thought that by talking [writing] about it, it might give me some perspective. So this is going to come from the heart I guess, it’ll be a bit random and maybe not that structured, and I’ll just write. You may well be going through the same kind of shit, and I’m so sorry if that’s the case. It may be different kinds of shit to mine, but it’s still shite, isn’t it?

Here goes.

 

Nobody told me there’d be days like these

So, going back to my point about not being prepared, and to quote John Lennon: nobody told me there’d be days like these. In our youth, we (hopefully, in a stable and loving family environment) get help and guidance when navigating our childhood and teens and how to become an adult, but in terms of getting older… the fact that so many things change – and the way they change – can come as a massive and (often) unwelcome shock.

No one is there to give us guidance on “how” to age. No one tells you what to expect or how to cope. You start to wonder how many more things can go wrong/be shit/annoy you/hurt you.

Rather than waffle on with long paragraphs for each “thing”, I thought I’d just summarise the year I’ve had so far (worse than some people’s perhaps, but likely not as bad as others):

  • We had several unexpected deaths in our extended friends/family circle, including a close friend of my husband’s (his passing hit us really hard). It’s been sad and depressing and funerals are especially heartbreaking when it’s someone your own (young) age.
  • My health went from bad to dreadful – I was diagnosed with sciatica and have had several bouts of literal “screaming and crying in agony” back pain and continued leg pain. I can remember sitting on my bed on Christmas Eve last year and crying because I couldn’t move without feeling like I was being stabbed in the leg over and over.
  • Our bad financial situation worsened, with me not receiving any income at all this year until a couple of weeks ago.
  • The cost of everything rose and rose, plus we’ve been trying to find the money to pay for weekly physio for me to stop the screaming pain.
  • I suffered massive, debilitating weight gain due to not being able to eat well (cooking food from scratch was impossible for me) or move without screaming in pain and making me lose all my self-confidence. (I’ll stop with the mention of screaming pain now… I think I’ve rammed that point home enough.)
  • My sister and BIL (who live in Australia and we haven’t seen in six years) visited last month only to catch Covid and not be able to spend any time with us for two weeks of their visit.
  • Most of the rest of the family then caught Covid as well and my 95-year-old father (who has dementia) ended up in hospital and on oxygen for over a week. Only my other sister and niece could visit him because they were the only ones who didn’t catch it. My dad came back home only for the dementia to have advanced exponentially, most likely due to the hospital stay… he’s gone from needing professional care three times a week to three times a day. My mum is 90 and not physically or emotionally able to care for my dad by herself.
  • The constant care that my parents have needed for a while now just grew and grew. Thankfully I have a large family and everyone does so much, whenever they can, to help them. But I’m on a constant state of high alert whenever my mum calls or my sister calls, because I’m always thinking “is this the phone call where they tell me…” and it’s emotionally exhausting.
  • I’m tired. I’m perimenopausal. “Tough” jobs around the house and garden – like laying new turf after digging and prepping the soil in our front garden the other week – made us realise we tire SO much more quickly than when we were 30. I’ve really felt 52 this year. Everything I do has to involve me being careful that I don’t pull my back again. Or twist my knee again, or pull my shoulder again, all of which my physiotherapist has worked on for me.
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There may well be more things, but I can’t think of them right now. I think you can probably tell how challenging 2024 has been so far, however.

 

Coping with physical change (and I don’t necessarily mean “The” change)

So that’s my summary of this year to date. Anyone who’s had similar experiences – now or in the past – can, I’m sure, relate to how tough this stuff can be. Tough and tiring. The ageing (and required care) of my parents and my own health divebombing are what’s contributed most to my exhaustion; I never really noticed my own ageing till now.

It will take time to adjust to this new life, rather: this new chapter of my life. It is a HUGE gear change. The way I think about so many things is forever changing and I honestly don’t feel like the same person I was 10 years ago, maybe even 5 years ago (or pre-pandemic, shall we say).

I’m now acutely aware of my own mortality, having to cope with being unable to cook, clean or even work during my bouts of sciatica. Sitting at a desk was intensely painful, despite me having a very expensive ergonomic office chair, so my output plummeted. I couldn’t find comfortable positions in bed to lie in so my sleep was erratic at best. Self-care, what’s that? All I want is to be pain-free.

And of course, perimenopause continues to be fun and games. On the one hand, we are talking about menopause so much more which is amazing, and it’s good for the younger generation (and all men!) to have a greater understanding of menopause. But on the other hand… oh god, we know so much more. So many books to read, so many discussions to have with friends, so many health adjustments or remedies to consider, so much battling with doctors, so much confusion over the endless symptoms and what to do about them.

Nevertheless, I’d rather live in a more-informed world than a less-informed one… knowledge is power, as they say.

 

The ageing parents quandary

This is the worst bit for me, and something I’ve only touched on in previous posts or other platforms. My dad is now in advanced stage dementia, and I honestly can’t describe quite how that feels. I’m not, in fact, going to describe my feelings or talk about his condition in any detail, because 1. I don’t actually want to share my honest, true feelings, and 2. I guess I’m doing it out of respect for the wonderful man I once knew.

It’s not because I’m in denial about the whole thing – quite the opposite, in fact. It’s just that my feelings may come across as cold-hearted, unkind, too pragmatic or just downright blunt. We essentially lost our father a long time ago… I now understand when they say that dementia is “the long goodbye”. It’s a hard thing to explain but I’m sure there are people who know (sadly) what I’m getting at.

So if you’re going through/went through something similar (and my trigger warning didn’t put you off reading), then do know that I get exactly how tough it is. The physical side of tending to them and everything/everyone around them. The emotional side of everything that’s happening. The financial side and just how eye-wateringly expensive round-the-clock care is.

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It is DRAINING. Not just where dementia and Alzheimer’s are concerned, but for anyone coping with – or caring for someone with – any sort of degenerative disease.

I said it before, but I’ll say it again… nobody told me there’d be days like these. I see you, I really do.

 

✷  ✷  ✷  ✷  ✷

 

I have no “quick fixes” to offer. I can’t give any sound advice because I’m finding everything hard to cope with myself. But sometimes it’s good to get it off your chest, it’s good to start discussions (head to the comments and sound off if you wish), and where the positive side of the internet is concerned, sometimes it’s a case of reading a post like this and just realising you’re not alone.

As I mentioned before, I’m sorry if you too are going through a shitty time, whatever form it may be taking. I have to remind myself – for want of a less cheesy quote – that “this too shall pass”. To look at the positive side of things, my five months (and counting) of physio treatment has “mended” my body back to about 85% pain-free, and I can finally exercise again. I AM feeling better, albeit slowly.

We are falling into a better routine with the care for my parents. Rather than myself and my family being responsible for 90% of the care they require, we’re now responsible for about 20% of what they need, and the professionals take care of the rest.

I don’t know quite HOW I could have been more prepared for this shift in life circumstances, because I’m still wrapping my head around it all.

So, back to my opening line: I’ll stick with It’s All A Bit Shit, Isn’t It?. Because I still don’t know how to cope. I guess the answer to that is simply, “Take one day at a time” – and that’s all any of us can do.

 

Have you found midlife a shock in any way (how)? Do you think we should prepare the younger generation for midlife MORE than we’re doing right now, or do you think they find out all they need to know via the internet and social media – in other words, are we talking about it enough? Let me know what you think in the comments box below…

 

Thanks for reading,

Catherine signature

 

For more information and support on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, please visit the Alzheimer’s Society. It’s a fantastic resource.

Linking up to… Monday: Inspire Me MondayMy Glittery Heart, On Mondays We Link Up || Tuesday: Turning Heads Tuesday, Confident Twosday, Happy Now Blog Link Up || Wednesday: WowOnWednesday || FridayFancy Friday, On the Edge

38 Comments

  1. Shari
    5 July 2024 / 6:43 pm

    Thank you for your honesty- life is tough, and we’re never quite as prepared for it as we would hope. Venting to friends and family helps, though!!! And, by waddling in the shite (and farts) with friends and family, we gain strength from knowing that we’re not alone. And, if we’re lucky, a friend or family member can hand us some toilette paper, light a match (for the odor) and laugh with us at the crazy rudeness of it all. Here’s to more toilette paper, friends, family & matches (plus income, good health, good healthcare, laughter, and better rest):)

    • Catherine
      Author
      12 July 2024 / 5:53 pm

      Oh Shari your comment about waddling in the shite and the farts and the toilet paper made me laugh… thank you 😉 hehe

      Thank you also for leaving a lovely comment, and such a positive one: I had a vent with my sister the other day and although it didn’t help actually resolve anything, it DID help to have someone go, I KNOW, RIGHT?!! on the other end of the phone. So glad you popped by, much love x

  2. 1 July 2024 / 12:43 pm

    You got this!!! By the way – obstacles and challenges are what make us stronger and smarter. I’ve had my fair share of struggles and losses ( mom passed in 2019 after years of making me her caretaker in every conceivable way) and I can honestly look back now with a heart filled with gratitude. My life has meaning, and I’m a conduit for greatness! So are you my friend.

    • Catherine
      Author
      12 July 2024 / 5:51 pm

      Sue that’s really lovely of you to say – thank you SO much. So sorry to hear about your mum, those years must have been tough for you. But it’s lovely to hear that your heart is full of gratitude and you’re so positive about life. You’re just what I’m trying to achieve for myself, thank you thank you xx

  3. Kareema
    1 July 2024 / 9:03 am

    Hi Catherine,
    I am so sorry to hear what you’re going through and am sending my love
    I totally agree it’s all a bit shit! I lost a close school friend last year to cancer which was devastating. My Mum was also diagnosed with dementia and my mother in laws health started to decline at a more rapid rate…she has pulmonary fibrosis (smoked for 50 years). My husband and I seem to be the ones who have ended up taking on the bulk of the care/organising for the parents which is exhausting. I’ve totally neglected my own health which has caught up with me now so am trying to sort that out. Menopause so far has been OK (I think!)….I am looking at going in HRT but because I need other issues sorting out first it’s taking ages!
    Thinking of you Catherine, make sure you look after yourself in all of this (easier to say than do but it is so important) xxxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      12 July 2024 / 5:49 pm

      Sounds like you’re being put through the wringer too, Kareema 🙁 Caring for others is SO exhausting, you’re right, and when you’re a bit older like us then it really takes a toll on your own health as you said. Don’t give up on the idea of helping yourself too, self-care IS important I know… easy for me to say to you when I’ve barely been doing it myself! Let’s make sure we both do it, yes…?! Thank you my lovely as always x

  4. Minda
    1 July 2024 / 1:10 am

    It all is really difficult. I agree that I don’t feel like the same me I was 5 years ago and it’s a real shock. I’ve always noticed a shift in ageing every 7 years, but this one is HUGE. I am acutely aware that it could get much worse from here with very little wiggle room in my own habits between Good and REALLY NOT GOOD. My mom died when I was in my early 30’s, but watching her slowly leave was very difficult. I think I understand what you might be feeling. I send so much love. It’s incredibly complicated. Whatever feelings come up around that, they are valid. There is no point in psychological heroics when it comes to watching parents go through this stage. You’ve always been so vulnerable and honest. I commend you for doing it now when it’s so very hard. I pray relief and good times come again and all the strength you need until then. ❤️

    • Catherine
      Author
      12 July 2024 / 5:45 pm

      Minda I’m so sorry that you lost your mum so young, I am very thankful that despite my parents being older they have reached a very considerable age, and even when first diagnosed my dad was very much in his twilight years… some people with the disease are not so lucky and develop it far too young. Thanks so much for your kind words and support. It’s so hard to write down your true feelings without them sounding cold, but thank you also for that recognition that all feelings are valid feelings. Sending virtual hugs x

  5. 30 June 2024 / 11:53 pm

    I am so very sorry to hear this, friend. I feel guilty that my life is blissfully decent by comparison, but I also know nothing lasts, good times or bad. Sending all the positive energy, good karma and virtual hugs your way possible- let there be light at the end of some of these tunnels!
    Xoxox. MK

    • Catherine
      Author
      12 July 2024 / 5:39 pm

      MK you’re so wonderful for your constant support and good wishes – you’re always a ray of sunshine and I’m so happy for you that life is good! Thank you my friend, I know things will improve in time xx

  6. 30 June 2024 / 9:49 pm

    Firstly, a big hug to you, Catherine

    Nothing about this part of life is easy & no one tells us anything til we’re right snap bang in the middle of it ourselves.

    We’ll always have challenges but I think midlife is a particularly tough one.

    I have so much I could write about my own couple of years but I won’t take up space. Just know like so many others I relate.

    I was 61 last month & the one absolutely freakin positive thing I can share & I do think many women can agree – Post menopause is amazing!!!! Stay strong, gorgeous one

    • Catherine
      Author
      12 July 2024 / 5:37 pm

      Thank you Sharon – you’re right about no one telling us anything till we’re in the middle of it!! I do think it’s a blessing that we have the internet as a resource for this stuff… where would we be without it :/

      I know just how hard you’ve had it the past few years, you’ve had more than your fair share of tragedy and health issues and for that I’m so sorry. But how lovely to hear that post-menopause is like coming out the other side, I’m so happy for you and I hope things continue to improve xx ❤️

  7. Michelle
    30 June 2024 / 7:55 pm

    First of all, hugs to you (and everyone else who is struggling). That is a lot to go through at once. I am glad you have a supportive and close knit family.

    Secondly, thank you for your openness and frankness about this very difficult season of life. I’m 55, and it’s refreshing to hear something about this age besides “You’re only as old as you feel” or “life begins at 50”. I am coming out the other side of a difficult time – I also had a parent with dementia (who died from cancer last year), was going through menopause and sent my only child off to college all around the same time, and during a pandemic. Those years were chaotic, heartbreaking, and unrelentingly stressful. You do get through it just getting through one day at a time. Every morning I would get up, say my prayers, and soldier on. You are right about “the long goodbye”; I made this mistake of not letting myself grieve the loss of who my mother was through her dementia, and after she died my brain didn’t know what to try to process first. I also didn’t try to take care of myself while I was taking care of her, and a year and a half later I’m still dealing with health issues relating to long term stress.

    I also agree with you on how shocking menopause and aging is, and how we are completely unprepared for it. The brain fog, the exhaustion, the changes in my body and face have hit me so much harder than I expected it to. There ‘s grief and mourning in this as well.

    As to how we can better prepare the next generation – I am honest with my daughter (age 22) and don’t hide things from her. I allowed her to participate in my mother’s care where she could, and don’t try to keep being the same person I was when that is not possible for me. I ask for help or for her to take on a little more when I need her to. I talk openly about death, grief and aging. My mom tended to protect us and shield us too much.

    • Catherine
      Author
      12 July 2024 / 5:33 pm

      Thank you Michelle… I too was a bit fed up of all the articles about how fabulous, woo-hoo! your 50s are meant to be, and when you read them when you’re struggling I kinda got to a bit of an “oh just f*** off!” moment which led to me writing this. It’s almost as if we’re not ALLOWED to age, as if we’re not ALLOWED to struggle and we’re not ALLOWED to feel or look anything other than incredible and – what I guess is the case – this obsession with maintaining our youth even though we’re perimenopausal, tired and dealing with shit.

      I’m so glad you’re talking to and open with your daughter, I don’t have kids myself but I do have loads of nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews… I always openly talk about being perimenopausal. No one did that in my family [for me to hear], despite having two older sisters and a mum. It might have been that I’m having a harder time than they had, but then I wouldn’t know as they didn’t talk about it!! So maybe my mum was the same as yours with the protecting you from it a bit: I now see it’s not healthy but I also think it’s a generational thing. Thank god we’re talking more about this stuff.

      I hope you manage to optimise your health as best you can to match the strides it sounds like you’re making by talking about it – thank you so much for your support and for sharing, much love xx

  8. Debby
    30 June 2024 / 7:34 pm

    It really is bloody shit. Sadly, my life pretty much mirrors yours right now. My husband lost two of his oldest friends this year, one completely unexpected and rather violently. I’ve also got sciatica and a recent arthritis diagnosis in my knees, none of which is helped by being horribly and painfully overweight. I feel disabled and it has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion. I used to be so skinny and fit, now I can barely get up off the sofa some days.
    Added to that, whether it’s dementia or not we can’t work out, but don’t think so, but my mother has become horrible and selfish which is really upsetting. It’s my birthday today and she couldn’t be bothered to even send me a card. It might be depression, but she won’t listen to me about getting any help.
    And to crown it all, we’re stuck in vile rented accommodation and as an artist art is literally the last thing people buy in cost of living crises so constantly skint as well. This is not what I thought being older would be like.

    So hugs to you, Catherine, and anyone else going through midlife hell. This too shall pass, as they say.

    • Catherine
      Author
      12 July 2024 / 5:22 pm

      Oh Debby my heart goes out to you… you’re right, our situations do sound very similar so I know EXACTLY how you’re feeling: frustrated, angry, hurting, tired, the list goes on. And I’m a creative as well – brands just do not pay what they were paying me 6 or 7 years ago, and the [decent] offers are few and far between. I now earn in a year what I used to earn every month and it’s horribly worrying 🙁

      Please don’t give up on getting someone to see your mum – don’t know if you’re in the UK or not but I know how hard it is to get a GP appointment these days. It took us a LONG time to get my mother to accept that my dad’s memory was more than just a bit of old age forgetfulness, and even now there’s a lot of denial about his capabilities. [she says between clenched teeth aaaaaarrrghhhhh!!]. I Googled a “how to get a diagnosis” and this came up, I hope it at least helps you start the process:

      “If you suspect your parent has dementia, keep a record of their symptoms. Document and track their symptoms, and share them with a doctor.”

      As I said, please don’t give up, but good GOD I know how hard it is. Best of luck to you and for your own health too, take good care of yourself as best you can xx

  9. 30 June 2024 / 2:32 pm

    So sorry you’re having to experience this Cathrine, I agree it will change and be something different. I recently lost my father, we’d been estranged for most of my life but it’s still been a horrible time and brought back lots of old bad feelings. Talking, or writing is the best thing for me. Yes I feel so much different from when I turned 50 even (60 last month and didn’t want to be this age!!) My body aches every day and i have to force myself to go and exercise when I loved going. Memory is crazy, I have to write everything down in a list or it doesn’t get done. But there are good times for sure. My mantra is keep on going! Were in the throes of building a new house, enjoying a big family and everyday life. I hope things improve for you sweetie. Jacqui . xxx

    • Catherine
      Author
      11 July 2024 / 6:27 pm

      Oh Jacqui that must be very hard to have lost your dad but not have been close – my husband had a similar thing with his mum when he lost her a couple of years ago. Hard to know how to feel when you haven’t seen them in so long… I see my parents several times a week so it’s a very different experience for me. So sorry you went through that 🙁

      Ughh the body hurting thing is SO hard, isn’t it – no one prepared me for it, I think I hit 40, even 45, and thought I was invincible!! 50 just smacked me in the face with everything! But yes to keeping going… I know things will change and improve, I’m just battling through right now. Thank you my lovely x

  10. Carole
    30 June 2024 / 11:35 am

    Oh Catherine..I hear you….
    one hundred and ten per cent….
    your words absolutely sum things up..in a nutshell.
    I feel for you, …
    there have been deaths in my family…ally elder relatives have now passed away .and most recently..my wonderful kind father. who really was my truest friend….
    coping with this agonising loss has indeed been emotionally draining..all the more so that I’ve no siblings to share this pain.
    you’re so so right…nothing prepares us…
    somehow..we need to find the strength..to just keep going…
    in my thoughts Catherine..
    please do take care of yourself…we have to xx ❤️

    • Catherine
      Author
      11 July 2024 / 6:22 pm

      Carole I’m so sorry to hear about your father… it must be very hard for you not having any siblings – I’m very lucky to have siblings to vent to and share the grief and the struggles with. I’ve had a long time to come to terms with how he is now and as I mentioned in the post we lost him a long time ago which in itself is painful and horrendous, but it means I can hang on in there in a practical and pragmatic way. Talking about it here does help give me strength and I’m so grateful for people like you who share their own stories, I get how hard it is as my dad is (was) a wonderful, kind man too. I’m still going, as are you… thank you for sharing and for passing on such kind wishes. Take care of yourself, it’s lovely to hear that you had a fabulous superhero dad too ♥️

  11. Kay
    30 June 2024 / 11:23 am

    Hi Catherine, so sorry you having such a tough time, we all deal with these things differently. My mum was mentally alert and I spent years doing everything I could to keep her in the home she loved but it reached the point where it was no longer safe. She moved into a care home and we spent most of the money on fees but she had no quality of life and she knew it so when she finally passed it was the kindest thing.
    Your dad would probably not know if he was in care and there is no reason why your mum could not join him and spend the rest of their life together and safe. Think about your options in a cold clear light and don’t assume that you know what they would like, it would be whatever is best for their children. Hope things improve soon xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      11 July 2024 / 6:16 pm

      Oh gosh Kay that’s a lot to go through – for you AND for your mum. Safety has been a concern for us too but before he was hospitalised my dad was *just* about mobile, but unfortunately mobile enough to result in frequent falls and him wandering off. Now he’s lost that mobility (he can’t walk or stand now unaided) it’s actually better in a way as he and my mum are safer. Thankfully things are working out much better with the almost round-the-clock care at home, but we’re just taking each day as it comes. My mum is adamant he’s/they’re not going into the home, so we just hope things work out in the best way for everyone (you know what I mean). It’s hard, isn’t it. Thank you for the lovely thoughtful comment x

  12. Emerald
    30 June 2024 / 11:09 am

    Oh Catherine, I’m so sorry life is so tough right now. I’m also in my 50s. I’m not the skinny ninny I was 10 years ago, but luckily I’m still healthily within range and manage to shrug things off. My parents were teenagers when they married because I was on the way, so they’re now only 76 and 78 and in good health, but they are far away.

    We had a similar loss to your husband’s though. My husband Stephen lost a good friend two years ago. Ronnie was such a lovely big guy and it was so sudden. He would’ve turned 60 last week and is not forgotten. I didn’t know him that well, but it was heartbreaking to see Stephen and his friends so gutted. It prompted me to get on with things I want to do. Life is short.

    Wishing you better days. Xx

    • Catherine
      Author
      11 July 2024 / 6:09 pm

      Thank you Emerald… isn’t it awful to lose a friend [your own age] – and you’re right, it does make you realise how short life is. Such a horrible thing to go through.

      In contrast to your parents, my parents were 38 and 43 when I was born (I’m the youngest of four) so their ageing hasn’t been a surprise but it’s still a shock, if that makes sense. Even more reason to make the most of life. From one previously skinny-ninny to another ( another shock to have to get used to 😉 ), thank you for your kind words my lovely x

  13. Emma
    30 June 2024 / 10:55 am

    Hi Catherine,

    I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this.

    I only turned 39 this month, but my husband died of cancer last year and so now I am widowed, alone with my young child. I’m so tired already, I feel so spent, like the last years have taken everything I had to give. And yet, I have to get up every morning, engage with my kid, get him to school, go to work, pick him up from school, put food in front of him, get him to bed, always functioning.
    When I think of my ageing parents, who were neglectful and abusive when I was a child myself, and who are now of no help to me, when I think of the fact that they will likely need help when my child has barely grown up, I honestly don’t know how to go on.
    So I don’t. I don’t think of it. I don’t plan, I don’t engange with the future.
    As you said, taking it one day at a time is all we can do. Life will turn out differently than we thought anyway.

    Wishing you the best!
    Emma

    • Catherine
      Author
      2 July 2024 / 10:50 pm

      Oh my goodness Emma you’ve been to hell and back… I’m so very sorry for your loss, that’s just unimaginable, and at such a young age for the both of you too. I’m not surprised you’re tired, especially with a young child and absent parents. I hope you have either a supportive extended family and/or supportive friends and get the support you need. I’m glad to hear you don’t engage with the future, that seems like the healthiest way to approach it – as you said who knows what the future holds?

      Sending you much love and virtual hugs – and as I said do reach out to a relative or friends if you’re feeling alone… if they’re in place already then make the most of them. You are loved and will always have someone who can support you, not matter how they’re related to you xxxxxxxxxx

      (And thank you for your kind words towards me, that was so lovely of you when you’re having such a hard time too. xx)

      • Emma
        3 July 2024 / 7:40 am

        Thank you so much for your kindness and empathy. Your words brighten my day!

        • Catherine
          Author
          3 July 2024 / 2:02 pm

          ♥️♥️♥️ take good care of yourself Emma ♥️♥️♥️

  14. Sanja
    30 June 2024 / 10:11 am

    Shitty shitty times… getting older really is ‘swings and roundabouts’. The good comes and then the not so good and then the good again etc…. It never gets easier, but it becomes more controllable. Take care of you first Catherine, or you will be no good for anyone else. X
    …. And don’t forget that your readers are on this with you…

    • Angela
      30 June 2024 / 5:53 pm

      Yes, we are!

      • Catherine
        Author
        2 July 2024 / 10:43 pm

        Angela bless you – THANK YOU XX 😀

    • Catherine
      Author
      2 July 2024 / 10:42 pm

      Sanja thank you thank you – you are right about the self care thing: guess what – I actually self tanned, dyed my hair and did my nails the other weekend in “celebration” of being able to move like a normal person again for the first time in what felt like forever… I need to stay as well as possible for the other shit that’s still bound to come my way at some point in the future! At least I’ll feel better about being mobile and looking good! 😉

      Thank you sooooo much for the support, you’re just lovely and so kind xx

  15. Fiona
    30 June 2024 / 10:09 am

    Back problems have been a feature of my life. At one time I couldn’t sleep, move or sit without pain. When the private physio I paid couldn’t help she sent me to my GP who referred me to an NHS physio. He gave me a proper old fashioned telling off and told me to do either yoga or pilates. My reaction was to cry and blub all over a friend who found a pilates teacher for me. Now in my mid sixties I can do more or less everything I want to do. Pilates has changed my back health dramatically. I still get dodgy twinges every now and then but life is mostly pain free. I don’t do fancy, expensive classes, just a mat and a good teacher.

    • Catherine
      Author
      2 July 2024 / 10:39 pm

      Gosh Fiona that sounds very much like my troubles… every single thing was painful for me too at one point. I’ll be getting back to doing yoga very soon – until a few weeks ago I couldn’t even sit on a chair without violent, shooting pain – but I always used to do yoga at home with DVDs and I’m looking forward to getting back into it. I started strength training about three weeks ago (very very gently) and the old muscle memory is slowly creeping back… I can now do squats and lunges (gentle ones!), which about six weeks ago was unthinkable, I couldn’t even get up or down stairs without crying from the pain. So glad to hear yoga/Pilates worked for you, you’ll be my inspiration to get back into it asap – thank you for the encouragement!! xx

  16. 30 June 2024 / 9:51 am

    All I will say is, I hear you, I empathise with so much of what you are going through – and, I understand your complicated feelings around your dad, as my mum also has dementia. We don’t always feel how we think we should feel, but there are no rules for feelings, only reasons.
    As for preparing GenZ for midlife – I think writing honest articles like this one, and being as authentic as we can be, helps others to know they are far from alone. But until midlife hits, perhaps we’re all in denial – not helped by marketers constantly pushing eternal youth and vibrancy as the goal!
    I’m so sorry you’ve had such a shit year x

    • Catherine
      Author
      2 July 2024 / 10:33 pm

      Isn’t it hard, Lizzie?! So many conflicting feelings, and it’s hard not to take things they do or say personally… I have to keep repeating to myself, “It’s not his fault, it’s the disease…” over and over. It’s exhausting, I’m sure you know how much.

      I think you’re right about being in denial about ageing until you’re actually there – I think I was even right up till about 6-8 years ago!! But thank goodness we’re sharing experiences because the better prepared they are… the better. Healthy prevention I guess is the goal (as much as you can prevent these things, I do worry for myself seeing as I have a parent with dementia and the chances of getting it are basically 50/50) 🙁 !

      Thank you for the lovely words and support, I hope you find ways to cope too and get on okay xx

  17. Lynn Jones
    30 June 2024 / 8:51 am

    Hey Catherine.<3 Sorry to hear that things are really shite for you right now. To be ill, to have money worries, the frustration of some doctors not listening, and to care for an aging parent; well, just one of those can be so draining. If it's okay to say, that you're managing to function with all of that, can I say that speaks volumes about your inner strength and courage. All that, and yes, it's okay to lie on the sofa and say "not today. I need rest."

    Please, don't worry about what others think about your and your dad. You know him best and the views of some rando* can, frankly, get in the bin. He's your dad and how you feel is valid and real. There's no right way to feel about these things, only what works for you and yours.

    ( * so says some rando in the comment box )

    I hope you manage to find a way forward and that things will get better for you. Fingers crossed, Big Girl Pants on as required, and, please, do look after yourself and your needs too.

    • Catherine
      Author
      2 July 2024 / 10:28 pm

      Lynn thank you… yes I definitely have those “not today thank you” days and lie on the sofa, I call them my “I just can’t do it today” days 🙁

      Very kind of you to say about having strength and courage, because honestly it doesn’t feel like I have much of that right now. I’m very grateful to have a very supportive family, even the carers have remarked that it’s unusual to have a family that do so much for their parents, so I’m proud of all of us. Getting my physical health back on track is the most important part of my self care right now, and I’m mostly pain free thank goodness (long may it continue). Thank you again for being so lovely xx

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