The Weary Travellers!

Sunday midday and all three of us were home safely in Malta! Exhausted but thrilled to be back again.

Daisy and I completed the last leg of our journey over the last twenty four hours, off to the airport in the upgraded rental mini (thanks #SixtLuton !!!) with Daisy safely wrapped in two seperate parcels, a 3:45am alarm, flight, #wheelchairassist followed by a flight over the #FranchAlps, across the #MediteranianSea, and a bumpy landing into #malta where #Molly was there to meet us!

We haven’t put Daisy together again yet, but all pieces are accounted for and look fine! Out cake the Thermomix and in the blink of an eye we had delicious risotto for lunch and homemade pizzas for dinner!

Nighty night from one VERY happy little household!!!

PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve signed on the easy, no-spam newsletters I send out no more often than monthly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those)!

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Five Pillow Day!

Two of his pet hates are cushions and pillows.

Two of my favourite things are cushions and pillows.

I always thought of them as somewhat decorative but mostly functional. He thinks they’re just stupid.

Along with the first vague understandings of my health issues came the realisation that pillows and cushions do more than provide comfort for me. They prop me up and support me.

Then over the next couple of years I worked out that I only need one or two (in each place I sit) but on really bad days, I need up to five.

Today is one such day. One on the left, another on my right, two behind me, and one between my knees. Nothing is able to hold itself in position and even my left hand rests in a pillow as I alternately type and drink tea with my right. The tea cup is placed in exactly the right position so there’s no twisting. For refills I need to ask for help.

Yesterday we had a huge chat as we discussed the ins and outs of the unpacking processes and how much better it’s been made by having a slow, staggered help and this little flat to crash at through the process. The old me would’ve sent him off to ride or paddle or work… it’s “easier” to do it on my own. But I’m physically in worse shape than I’ve ever been, and we have no choice. We feel like a pair of naughty children sent to our room, not able to come out without the cooperation of the other.

Three hours a day (and three hours only), we drive the two minutes down the road to the apartment, park Molly in her garage underground, and together we attack a handful of boxes.

I can’t do it without him. I can unpack boxes he brings to my chair, and I can direct what goes where and which box to unpack. But he can’t do it without me either. He’s never done it before, it’s completely overwhelming for him and his anxiety skyrockets. And when his anxiety levels are high he doesn’t listen too well. So I have to be patient and kind and gentle and ask (not tell).

We’re both super happy with the progress and with ourselves and each other. We’re nailing this in more ways than one.

But as each day moves into the next, I’m becoming more and more exhausted. There was a time that I could unpack a hundred boxes on my own, move the piano into place, and get rid of all the rubbish by the time he got home from work… five days in a row.

But not any more. Now the three hours are all I can do, and it’s three painfully slow and frustrating hours at that. I can ride a recumbent bicycle for three hours straight, but sitting in a camping chair giving orders and bending over open boxes and opening packages within those boxes is a whole different ball game and the pain sets in quickly, …. followed right behind by the brain fog. Then I can’t string more than a few words together.

It’s difficult explain. I say door instead of window, left instead of right, clothes instead chair… and more often than not I can’t find the word at all…

It’s frustrating for both of us. We might need a day off tomorrow? Or maybe even two days?

Today is day five of the unpack. The kitchen arrived just as we were leaving…

I’m assuming it’ll be installed over the next few days. If I can’t string more than a few words together and my pain levels are through the roof, then it’s a five pillow day… and time for a rest.

PS: Thanks so much to those who’ve signed on the easy, no-spam newsletters I send out no more often than monthly (and believe me, I miss sending half of those)!

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@JPeaSmith

The Pino Outcome:

I love this photo!! I look so normal! But here’s what it doesn’t show:

  • That I couldn’t walk at all! We’d ridden for over an hour. My leg muscles are amazingly strong considering how little work they get to do in real life. But it was lunch time so we stopped for a break, he helped me get off, and that was it… In the photo I’m sitting on the side of the bike because I couldn’t go any further. Yet I was able to get back on again (with help) and ride another hour!
  • The photo also hides my sore face. I smashed my face a few days ago and have a fat lip etc.
  • This is ALL I did yesterday. He let me sleep in as long as possible and got ready for the day without me. He woke me late morning in time to eat then we drove to the Pino, we rode, then I barely made it back to camp again for a shower and bed. I was in bed again by 4pm and didn’t even have the energy to read.

So…. don’t confuse my ability to ride with my ability to walk, and don’t forget this took all a day’s energy to do and there was nothing left.

Now we’re in the process of trying to buy one. This is a game changer for me and in a completely different way, a game changer for him. It’s my only option for keeping strong right now. It could take months to get one, but we’re praying hard for another Pino Miracle and that we’ll have one well before the end of the year! So watch this space!

(In the mean time, it’s back to a few short metres of heavy crutch walking a day and that’s it… it’s very difficult to be given such freedom then having it taken away!

Why I stopped writing my Memoir to Share my Anxiety Story

For most of 2016, I had no choice but to spend every waking hour adjusting to my new normal after losing most of my mobility due to complications with my Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. It was certainly nothing like what I had planned for the year and at first, I thought that life as I had known it was gone forever. In many ways I was right, it was gone forever, but it also opened the door to a part of me that I had always known was in there but never had the time, courage or circumstance to bring out. Hours upon hours every day in bed gave me the unique opportunity to start to write, and I soon found my voice and my space to tell my story.

A very long and complicated story that is going to take a while to take apart and put back together again into chunks that make great books which are easy for people to read and get something out of. After ten months of hard and often emotionally painful work, I had written enough for two full-length novels (which I hope will come out this year some time). But when I got to the part where I talked about the thread of anxiety and panic attacks that had run through a decade or more of my journey, I stopped there.

When I sit down to write every day I generally let my fingers and my soul tell the story for me and I look forward to seeing what comes out. I had got the anxiety bits out in a few days of hard writing but in the week or so that followed and I sat down to write each day, my soul and my fingers stayed on topic and never moved from it. They kept going back and back to the anxiety and panic, and I realized then that I was supposed to stop there for a reason. When you live in a story day to day, week, month and year to year, it is so easy to get lost in the bigger picture and to forget how hard we worked or how much we achieved.

I had battled hard with anxiety and it very nearly consumed me completely. As anxiety and panic attacks merged with some of the serious side effects of my as yet undiagnosed genetic condition, the cocktail of symptoms from both made it even harder to separate them. Serious issues were chalked up to anxiety and dismissed, while some of the scarier effects of the anxiety were wrongly treated as life or death situations. The whole mess created even more fear and confusion which of course only fed the anxiety.

My journey through so many failed attempts to solve my anxiety as well as my medical issues was a long and painful one which ultimately led me to break point, where I literally landed up on the floor of the church foyer across the road begging for help. Thankfully the poor stunned receptionist who had no idea what to do with me remembered that a trauma counselor was on call and phoned him immediately.

Next door to the church was a library and between the kind advice from the retired counselor and the medical books on the shelves, over the next four months, I began to put all the pieces of information together that I needed to turn this all around. And in the end, I eventually did. I won! I beat my anxiety permanently.

I realized two things as I was writing all this; that I don’t want everyone to have to buy my novels in order to get what may help them with their own anxiety, and that the anxiety thread is way too important to squash into a single chapter among dozens of other things. And so was born the idea of a short (less than an hour) book that tells the stripped down version of how I beat my anxiety and the tools needed to replicate it.

And so was born the idea of a short (less than an hour) book that tells the stripped down version of how I beat my anxiety and the tools needed to replicate my success. I am still going to tell all the other stories, but until then, The Lion and the Peacock – How I Conquered Anxiety, will be available on Amazon Kindle from the 8th of January 2017. You can sign up here to get an email as soon as it is out as well as when it will be out in paperback, and other exciting news:

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Memoir Writing.

img_8897I loooove train rides. Especially sleeping trains. They are my passion and my favourite place in the world to be. My writing for me is very much a series of train trips as it is all about the various journeys that I travel on in life. My health, my heart, my faith, my personal growth and my physical travels all around the globe. They are often lonely and they are deeply emotional. What I love about blogging is that I get to take people on these trips with me and I love that. I truly love my readers and their support and the fact that they choose to come on my rides with me blows me away!

The only writing that I have ever done is from my heart and soul. My experiences, my opinions, my thoughts and my dreams. I started a new memoir with NaNo on the 1st of November and since then it has been pouring out of me with such great force that I feel as though this train has a mind of its own. This one is a runaway train and I love it. Sometimes we fly through deep dark tunnels that seem to never end as I relive all kinds of experiences that I am writing about which bring up horrendous pain, nightmares, anger, frustration, …but those experiences allow me to write with feeling and color and I believe that they enrich the story and help keep them extremely real.

Then there are the highs as I write about the good things or more often they occur when I am writing about the bad but the chapters come together well or the writing flows in a way I hadn’t imagined it could, or when something or someone (usually a stranger on social media) encourages me out of nowhere. The highs are thrilling and they keep me going through the hard days. But throughout this experience, the train hasn’t stopped for a moment and it is an exhausting but thrilling ride!

I can totally appreciate why writers want to go and hide on a mountain somewhere and simply immerse themselves in their writing. It is addictive and it flows and in many a way, it is like they are living a completely separate life. This is me.

Sadly I am forced to spend some of my time in the real world and often I am finding that I enjoy it less and less. I am sure that this is not a good thing, but right now I am not sure that I entirely care. Is that shocking? Is that terrible? Am I morphing into a hermit? … my husband and my readers are the only people on this train journey with me and I am loving it. So thank you to all of you who are making this journey so exciting, I cannot wait to start publishing!

Where I hang out:
@JPeaSmith
“Here she comes, running, out of prison and off the pedestal: chains off, crown off, halo off, just a live woman.”  ― Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Book “It’s Mah Eeds”

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It’s official, I have now finished draft one of book one in the four book series…. “It’s Mah Eeds” will hopefully be out by this time next year.

Huge Thanks to NaNoWriMo for helping to make this happen … I was hoping to do 60 thousand words by the end of November but I hit just over a hundred thousand (which includes about 30thousand words of book 3) … (book 2 is already done, just waiting for book one).

Now starts the editing part, which I am guessing will be done by Feb some time. My January is booked up with loads of wedding prep so I’m aiming at editing this baby by the end of this year, but if not it will likely be Feb some time…

img_8760If you would like to be on the mailing list for updates no more often than monthly, then just comment your email address below and I will add you, or email me on jenniferpeacocksmith@gmail.com

Thanks so much for your support already and I look forward to the next leg of the journey!!