Ouchy! I find supportive shoes and inserts make a difference very quickly. Stretches and lunges that elongate the muscles and tendons in the calves are a big help too. Long-term, not carrying 14kg of toddler on my back made the biggest difference of all.
I’ve known Missing Stairs who aren’t bigots at all, just people with very low social IQ who blunder about annoying people, for instance by being unbearably patronising. They may be basically nice people, but they’re the ones you invite out of a sense of duty rather than pleasure.
Some of the missing stairs I've know have been genuine not-very-nice-people but others have been generally decent people who have things going on which interfere with social interactions. I have known missing stairs with poor social IQ, pain causing conditions that make them short tempered, or difficulty hearing. What makes these people missing stairs is that, instead of finding coping strategies for themselves, they out-source the problem so the people around them have to make all the accommodations.
It's quite remarkable how, as soon as I hear it put that way, I can name the missing stairs in pretty much every group I have ever been a part of. The friend whose partner quietly apologises on their behalf, the person for whom you change the meeting rules so their pet subject doesn't make it onto the agenda, the committee member to whom you give a consuming task to keep them busy while the rest of you get on....
There have been a couple of people who were utterly toxic in my own life where getting away from them took sacrificing some of the social circles to which I introduced them, so I never got the chance to find out if the problem extended to other people or just me. Certainly I treated those people as missing stairs, worked around them, made excuses for them and devoted a lot of energy to 'managing' our interactions.
You want bathroom horror stories?
Changing the nappy of a squirmy toddler in a cafe bathroom with highly polished concrete floors and no changing table. Kid bumps dirty nappy spilling contents onto the floor. I stand up to locate more paper towel, put my foot into the mess and immediately slip over, landing hard on my tailbone and spreading poop far and wide. Quite a lot of long, stinky minutes, and many, many paper towels later, toddler (who has not been entirely helpful) and I emerge to a family who are somewhat perplexed by my insistence on leaving immediately.
For me, initially, drugs were far easier to accept than counselling would have been because I had a bad case of the I'm-not-worthies. A 15 minute doctor's appointment and a packet of pills was the outer limit of the amount of care I felt I deserved. I would have felt that an extended period of someone's undivided attention was too much to ask for. Once I was feeling a little better I would have been open to the idea-especially if it was present as a way of consolidating the work I'd already done.
I wonder if there would be an increase in uptake if counselling was (re) offered after a couple of months of medication.
It's been around 15 years since I was treated for depression. I no longer recall if counselling wasn't offered or just wasn't offered assertively or frequently enough to make it through the fog. Either way I didn't get any sort of talk therapy for a depressive episode that was, in part, quite situational in origin.
I'm lucky that I responded well to a low dose of Prozac with few side-effects (there was some weight gain and loss of libido but depression had started both those jobs already) and I was able to find my way out of the dark.
Even so I think adding counselling to the mix would have made my climb out of the hole a lot easier and less tenuous. I still carry a few demons from that period and I do wonder if some of those hang-ups might have been avoided with a more comprehensive treatment plan.
I hate STV voting for health boards because it's often a huge list of people with often relatively low public profiles. Researching all those people enough to feel confident about ranking them precisely is not something I have the time and energy for. I'd love to be able to vote in tiers: yes, maybe, no, over my dead body etc.
We thought hard before hyphenating our kids names but it really was the only thing that made sense at the time. At that stage neither partner, nor I, wished to change our own surnames but it was important that the kids names connected them to both parents without privileging one name over the other.
We live in a community where about half the couples we know have different last names and there are usually a few other double-barrelled kids. The only issues we've had is one aunt worrying about them learning to spell their names and the some airlines not having enough space on their tickets for my younger son whose first name is also quite long (this has never taken more than a moment to sort out).
Over time the double-barrelled surname has come to be our family identity and we're looking forward to adopting it officially.
I got engaged to my partner of sixteen years (and father of our two children) on Thursday.
When we first got together there were a heap of practical reasons not to get married so we just didn’t bother. I did get a fair few comments questioning our commitment and there were times (like being listed as ‘single’ in midwifery notes) when it hurt. I protectively developed a principled stand against the whole institution.
It was same sex marriage that got in the cracks. If this was so important to some people I needed to think about it again. Last week, in the middle of some difficult and frustrating circumstances, we decided to celebrate love and joy and hope. Getting married won’t make us better partners or more committed parents (we’re pretty good already), it’s just an idea that’s making us happy – which is all it needs to be.
My partner is taking great delight in telling everyone that he plans on changing his name but I can do whatever I want (we shall almost certainly both hyphenate to match our double-barrelled kids.
Actually dying of laughter here.
We are in the middle of a remarkable disaster saga here involving a flooded house, rescue by fire engine, a loss adjuster who appears to be a black hole into which information disappears forever and a cleaning company who are unable to function without a nanny. Pretty sure it'll be badger-ants at the root of it all.